The Eastview girls' soccer team threw everything and the kitchen sink at Park of Cottage Grove on Tuesday night, but it wasn't until 80 minutes of regulation, a 20-minute overtime and penalty kicks until the Lightning could claim themselves Class 2A, Section 3 champions for the second year in a row.
Chance after chance after chance failed to put coach David Herem's squad on the scoreboard, a familiar feeling, as the Lightning came from behind to beat Apple Valley in the section semifinals down two goals with seven minutes left.
"Sometimes, you think it's not your night," Herem said.
After both teams missed their first two penalty kicks, Melisse Chasse, Kayla Tuthill and Jazzy Chanthalakeo rattled three consecutive shots in while goalkeeper Anhthu Huynh stopped three out of four Wolfpack attempts to clinch the 3-1 shootout victory after a scoreless 100 minutes of play at Park High School.
Both teams felt each other out in a scoreless first half. Park couldn't get much offense going, but that didn't make this a gimme for Eastview. The Lightning's scoring chances came in bunches after that. But Park, who didn't give up a goal in all three section playoff games, still kept Eastview off the scoresheet.
Eastview rang two crossbars late in the second half -- one with six minutes left and the other with less than a minute remaining in regulation. Paige Wilberding was hauled down hard in the box, forcing an Eastview penalty kick with just four minutes left in overtime. Chasse, who dazzled and made plays all night, took the kick and was stuffed by the Park goalkeeper. Chasse followed that effort up with another scoring chance, just missing wide right.
That wasn't all. Tuthill nearly won it with a header off a corner kick in the extra frame. She was also responsible for drilling the crossbar with a rocket launcher just outside the box. Emily Sutliff had a golden opportunity just eight minutes into the second half, slipping behind the defense and putting a shot just over the crossbar.
It certainly took effort and persistence for Eastview to earn a second consecutive trip to the state tournament. Having a bunch of returning players on their squad certainly helps.
"This is a goal they set for themselves," Herem said. "I think having that experience like last year -- you have to be ready to play at every minute. They know that."
Eastview 1, Apple Valley 0: The Lightning will make a second consecutive trip to the state tournament.
Jack Teske, who scored only one goal all season long, punched in the winner with less than six minutes to go in regulation. Pierce Erickson set up the play with a long ball across the field. It ended up settling with Teske, who sailed the ball over the keeper and into the upper-right corner. Kyle Lamott registered the shutout for the Lightning.