Penalty kick shootouts are a nightmare for soccer coaches. But for Wilmington goalie Kim Woods, the end result was a dream come true.
After Wayland took a 2-1 edge in penalty kicks, Woods took over and saved three consecutive shots to give her team a 2-1 (3-2 PK) victory in the North Division 2 quarterfinal round on Tuesday night at Alumni Stadium.
“Kim making that first save was definitely a confidence builder,” said Wilmington head coach Sue Hendee. “We had missed two in a row and she had to make a save. It changed the momentum of the entire process. Making two more saves after that was ridiculous. She was incredible. I would say that has to be one of the best days Kim Woods has ever had in her life.”
In regulation, it was Wilmington that struck first as Alex Bischoff controlled a ball near midfield and used a perfect touch on the breakaway to beat Wayland’s goaltender to the ball so she could put it in the back of the net with 2:33 to go before halftime.
But midway through the second half, Wayland evened the score with a little help from the Wildcats. A loose ball was bouncing dangerously in front of Woods, prompting a Wilmington defender to make a desperation clearing attempt. But the ball bounced off a teammate and trickled into the goal, tying the score at 1-1.
That’s where the game remained at the end of regulation, and through two 10 minute overtime periods, setting up the penalty kick dramatics.
Thanks to their victory, the Wildcats earned a spot in Friday night’s semifinal tilt against second-seeded Hamilton-Wenham. The game, which will be played at Woburn High School, kicks off at 7:30 p.m., will take place immediately following the Wilmington boys game against North Andover.
It was the boys team that Hendee said gave her team a bit of a boost heading into penalty kicks. While the Lady Wildcats were waiting for their own game to begin, they stood at the fence watching Steve Scanlon’s charges topple Bedford in penalty kicks.
“It’s such a stressful thing going to penalty kicks. But it gave the girls confidence that we could do the same thing the boys did,” said Hendee. “The girls believe. They have a right to believe. We are matching up with every team we’ve come up against. We’re playing well. Hopefully that will continue.”