Beaver Local’s season ends against Dover

MINERVA — Beaver Local’s girls soccer team thought it had the breakthrough it needed when Chansyn Hoppel put away an excellent counter attack effort with nearly four minutes left in regulation on Monday in a Div. II district semifinal at Minerva’s Hines Stadium.

Dover wasn’t about to be counted out though.

The Tornadoes rallied to tie the game with 2:20 left off a penalty kick resulting from a handball in the box and then outlasted the Beavers in a thrilling shootout 4-3.

Third-seeded Dover (12-4-3) advances to meet second-seed John Glenn in the district final at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Harrison Central.

Beaver Local wraps up its season 9-5-4.

“After Chansyn put that away we just struggled to get the ball out of the area,” Beaver Local coach Liz Connor said. “There were some miss hits and things that causes an unfortunate handball call. But I think this team left everything they had out on the field.”

Dover junior captain Grace Smith scored on the penalty kick which sent the game into overtime. Smith dictated a lot of the action from her midfield position — especially in the first half — but was unable to put away several opportunities.

The Tornadoes also had the more aggressive play in the first 15-minute overtime with senior Bridget Deeds missing three good chances to end the game.

Deeds also had the best chance to put the Torandoes ahead with 34 minutes left in the second half but Beaver Local sophomore Hailey Russell saved the day by breaking up what looked to be a sure breakaway goal.

“I was thinking they would score there but we kinda shut them down and showed them that we weren’t done yet,” Russell said.

In the penalty kick shootout, Beaver Local’s Jensen Britt and Madison Cline converted to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead early in the shootout. Dover made the next three after missing the first two and Beaver Local’s Danica Taylor also booted one in to knot it at 3-3 after five kicks each.

The second five from each team was then picked but there were seven straight misses including two saves by Russell. Dover junior forward Taylor Sweitzer walked up to the penalty spot and took a kick that went into the back of the net but the referee had not blown the whistle yet, so she had to retake it.

On her second opportunity she put it past Russell to win the game. There was a bit of confusion regarding the rules from the fans in the stands who thought Beaver had one last kick, but after the first five kicks it was make it or go home. It just took a while because of all the misses.

“We have practiced penalty kicks but it’s hard to simulate the pressure that is on the kicker,” Connor said.

Connor said Russell had worked hard in the offseason to earn the starting goalkeeper spot and that showed in the district semifinal.

“This was only my second season so it was a little nerve-racking,” Russell said. “I was thinking that it was either team’s game. We both played to the best of our abilities.”

Dover’s coach said the team was frustrated by its multiple missed chances, but thought Beaver Local’s speed up front was the reason why the Beavers almost got the win.

“I think one thing (Beaver) did well was the counter attack,” Dover coach Angie Pinion said. “They get the ball out quickly to their forwards and put the pressure on our defense quickly.”

Hoppel was mobbed by the whole team including Russell when she finished off an end to end run with 4:40 left on the clock in regulation. The play started off a Dover corner kick that got away from the Tornadoes.

Despite the loss, Connor thought that this season came together nicely despite several significant challenges.

“Coming into the season I questioned it a little bit,” Connor said. “We lost six seniors that all contributed to the team and we have three people that didn’t return for various reasons. So for them to step up and come together the way they have in the tournament was really showing the resilience of Beaver Local soccer.”