WINDHAM – Goalie Kate Kneeland kept her cool at just the right time to help top-seeded Windham turn back a stiff challenge from No. 9 Cheverus in a Western Class A girls’ soccer quarterfinal Tuesday night.

Kneeland stopped three of five penalty kicks as the unbeaten Eagles escaped with a 2-1 win.

The game, tied 1-1 following 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, was decided by penalty kicks.

“We did a lot of (penalty kicks) in practice preparing for this moment,” Kneeland said. “I just tried to tell myself to keep calm and not overreact about what was going on, just calm my nerves down and that really helped me out.”

Jenna Soucy, Jordan Sargent and Lauren Shoemaker converted their PKs into goals to send the Eagles (14-0-1) into a regional semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday vs. No. 5 Cape Elizabeth, a 3-0 winner against No. 4 Greely.

During a Sept. 18 game, Windham scored two second-half goals to pull out a 3-1 win against Cheverus, but Tuesday night’s game could have gone either way.

“After watching them play Deering the other night we knew this was going to be a much closer game than it was the first time we played them,” Windham Coach Deb Lebel said. The Stags (10-6) rolled to a 3-0 win against the Rams in a prelim game. “We were expecting a battle, and they gave us a huge battle.”

The Eagles took a brief lead 14 minutes into the second half when Sargent put in a penalty kick for her first goal this season after Jordan Symonds was pulled down in front of the goalie box. Sargent spent most of the game shadowing Abby Maker, who led Western Class A in scoring with 28 goals.

“We let the kids decide, and she was one they had the most confidence in,” Lebel said.

Four minutes later, Sadie Lyons scored her fifth goal on a breakaway to tie it.

The Stags had some golden opportunities during the last 20 minutes of regulation when Lyons hit the right post and Maker put a shot off the crossbar.

“We had so many chances to win it, so many different times,” Cheverus Coach Dan LaVallee said. “It was just one of those things.”

Cheverus carried play during the game’s first 25 minutes.

During the 13th minute, Kneeland beat Lyons to Maker’s long through pass to the left of the goal. Four minutes later, the goalie came off her line to grab Abigail Goodrich’s long direct kick while moving through a group of players in front of the goal. During the 19th minute, Maker got a step on two defenders but was unable to get off an uncontested shot before both collapsed on her. During the 25th minute, the Stags got off back-to-back shots from well inside the penalty area, but the ball never got past Windham’s fullbacks.

“It really could have gone either way,” Lebel said. “I just told my kids that we just got a gift.”


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH