Kicking penalties at girls’ soccer regionals


With bright smiles, senior Natalia Diaz goes in for a celebration hug with sophomore Brea Kamm after winning the district semi finals. “

Kendall Walsh

Girl’s varsity soccer played against Lake Mary High School on Feb.12 in the 5A regional championship game. The girls hugged and cried tears of sadness knowing it was their last game, but also tears of happiness because of how far they had made it.

“Overall, I think we gave it our best shot,” junior Amanda Hartmann said. “ Everyone played with their hearts and gave everything they had and that’s all that really matters.”

The lady Titans tied up the game with 20 minutes to spare, and continued to fight through two rounds of over time, and eventually into the dreaded penalty kicks.

“During penalty kicks in the final game my mind was racing and my heart was pounding,” senior Brianna Eads said. “I was so nervous and proud of my team that we’ve even made it this far. I made sure that my teammates that were taking pks [penalty kicks], were calm and made sure that were all relaxed.”

Both teams lined up with their five chosen kickers and prayed for the outcome they wanted. Sophomore goalkeeper, Rachel Kenis, stood on an island between the two white posts for her first time defending a penalty kicks in the biggest game in school history.

“I was really nervous, but i was also pretty calm because we’ve practiced penalty kicks multiple times in practice,” Kenis said. “I just felt really confident with them. Unfortunately it wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I wouldn’t really change anything.”

Senior center back Brianna Eads shot the first penalty kick, and made the first goal for University.  Junior striker Alexa LoBasso followed, making her shot as well.

“Penalty kicks are always a little nerve racking but I stayed calm.” LoBasso said. “I knew that no matter the outcome of penalty kicks we were still so proud of each other.”

With Lake Mary shooting, Kenis protected the goal and blocked her first penalty kick. However, Lake Mary went on to win the game with a final score of 3-2. Originally tying 1-1, the girls went into overtime then onto penalty kicks. Lake Mary went on to place spot in the state final four.

“I don’t think there is anything that I would change in the last game,” Eads said. “I played as hard as I could and I know that all my other teammates did as well. It was a hard fought game.”

Players, coaches, parents and fans were heartbroken. Even though the final score was not in the team’s favor, the girls broke numerous school records, and worked together at every game.

“I’m going to miss everything about this season,” Hartmann said. “This year’s team was definitely one to remember. I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I am definitely going to miss playing with the seniors, knowing I won’t ever play with them again is hard to process. But I’m glad I got to play with them for three years.”