Division 4 girls soccer: Gateway gets past Cathedral on PKs to reach final
CHICOPEE — For 100 minutes, offense was nonexistent.
Gateway Regional and Cathedral both played a ball-control game and scoring opportunities were few.
Sophomore midfielder Alyssa Moreau, who missed on a couple chances during regulation, made sure she did not miss during penalty kicks, and it was her conversion that lifted the Gators to a Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament girls soccer semifinal victory Friday night at Szot Park.
Gateway won 2-1 in PKs.
No. 3 Gateway (13-3-4) will face No. 1 Monson (16-2-2) in the final on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. at Westfield State University.
“This is just a wonderful group of athletes and they played with a lot of heart,’’ Gateway coach Steve Estelle said. “They stayed within themselves and played a great game.’’
It was an exciting finish to a hard-fought game between two defensive-minded teams. The Gators and Panthers played a physical, but clean brand of soccer and kept each other off the scoreboard for all 80 minutes of regulation and the two 10-minute overtime sessions.
It was hardly a surprise the game came down to penalty kicks. Even then, it was not easy to score.
Of the nine penalty kicks taken between the teams, only three found the net.
Moreau, undaunted by her earlier misses in regulation, took a deep breath and deposited a low shot past Cathedral goalkeeper Olivia Neigwanger (three saves) to conclude the fourth round.
Everything came down to the final shot by Cathedral’s Chrissy Ferriter. A goal would have extended the contest, but Ferriter fired high over the net.
The Gators mobbed Moreau and keeper Sarah Otterbeck in celebrating an opportunity to win their first sectional crown since 2010.
Moreau was determined not to miss this time.
“I was nervous,’’ she said. “I just went up there and did what I do in practice.’’
Which is what the Gator defense did the entire game in front of Otterbeck, who made two saves.
“Our defense was the key,’’ Moreau said.
Earlier in penalty kicks, Gateway’s Kendall Rooney and Cathedral’s Hannah Potter traded goals.
The Gators are without defensive standout Lily Iglesias, who injured her knee three games ago. But junior Hannah Green stepped up to fill in for her and had an outstanding game.
“She made some great plays,’’ Estelle said.
Gateway tried everything from bicycle kicks to direct kicks in an attempt to break the scoreless stalemate. But nothing seemed to work.
“We got better as the game went on,’’ Estelle said.