DES MOINES, Iowa - The shame of postseason soccer is that a classic encounter waged between two worthy combatants requires one team to advance while sadly ending the campaign of another. For the Drake women's soccer team its comeback 2012 season came to an end on Sunday (Oct. 28), as after a scoreless 110 minutes of Missouri Valley Conference Tournament action, Creighton (3-12-3) edged the Bulldogs (12-5-3) in an epic 10-round shootout, 8-7, to advance.
The showdown officially goes into the record books as a scoreless tie, but that fact doesn't diminish the efforts of Drake all season as the Bulldogs registered a 12-5-3 record after posting a 4-11-4 mark in 2011.
"I was constantly impressed with our players throughout this season, and today was no different," Bulldog head coach Lindsey Horner commented. "We expended a lot of energy on Thursday night and the result was emotionally draining for much of our team. These girls picked themselves up, came out re-energized today, and put forth quite a performance. Today's game was an all-out battle and we had a lot of the ball, but we just ran out of time."
The two sides waged a back-and-forth contest over the game's initial 90 minutes with Drake recording a 12-11 advantage in shots.
The Bulldogs nearly won the game in regulation as 32 seconds into the second half the Bluejays were whistled for a foul in the box resulting in a Drake penalty kick. Junior Brittany Schuling (Bondurant, Iowa/Bondurant-Farrar) stepped forward and nailed the shot that struck Creighton goalkeeper Katie Jo Swanson in the hands before hitting the post and nearly falling in back behind the line for the goal.
The Bluejays posted the only two shots in the initial overtime session before the Bulldogs collected a 2-1 shot advantage in the second overtime period.
In the best-of-five shootout, the first-ever in Drake's program history, both sides converted on all five of its attempts to send the shootout into a sudden-death format.
Turning in successful shots in the first five for the Bulldogs were junior Megan Fisher (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny), junior Generve Charles (Wausau, Wis./Wausau East), sophomore Ashlie Stokes (Sioux City, Iowa/Sioux City North), senior Kelsey Pigg (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee) and Schuling.
Momentum swung in the sixth round as freshman Rhian Pritchard's (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley North) shot went high before junior Kalena Litch (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) came up with a season-saving stop off of Angela Benson's attempt.
Freshman Kylie DeHaven (Olathe, Kan./Olathe East) hit the post on the next try for the Bulldogs, but again Litch made a stellar save of Maddie Trebesch's attempt to keep the shootout alive.
Both teams converted on their shots in the eighth and ninth rounds, with freshman Emma Winstead (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City West) and junior Paige Dusek (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) delivering for Drake.
In what proved to be the final round, Swanson made a save on junior Ann Hoover's (Nevada, Iowa/Nevada) shot. Flo Beshiri then advanced Creighton into the semifinals of the MVC Tournament with a successful strike.
Shots in the affair were tied at 14 apiece with senior Laura Moklestad (Des Moines, Iowa/Roosevelt) turning in a game-high four shots, while Pritchard, Stokes and Charles added three, two and two shots, respectively, to Drake's efforts. Kelsey O'Donnell and Brittney Neumann paced Creighton with three shots each.
Recording her eighth shutout of the season en route to collecting a game-high four saves was Litch, while Swanson made three stops for the Bluejays.
The outcome of the game doesn't diminish the accomplishments of the Bulldogs' five seniors who participated in their final contests wearing the Blue and White for Drake. The group included Moklestad, Pigg, Kasey Wellman (Northfield, Minn./Northfield), Lauren Strickfaden (Wichita, Kan./Independent) and Tara Zika (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline).
"Losing the last game of the season is always painful, especially for the seniors that have given so much to our program," said Horner. "To lose in such a dramatic fashion makes for a lot of sad and disappointed players right now, but our players should be proud of the way they represented Drake Soccer each time they put on their jersey this fall."