NEWAYGO — Even though Newaygo’s girls soccer team entered the match unbeaten on the season, Montague believed it could compete with and defeat the Lions in Friday’s Division 3 district finals.
The Wildcats proved they could go toe-to-toe and they nearly pulled off the victory.
However, Newaygo kept its dream season alive by beating Montague, 3-2, in a penalty-kick shootout following two overtime periods.
Unranked Newaygo (19-0-1) advances to the Clare regional where the Lions will face another unbeaten, No. 3 Elk Rapids (18-0-1), in a 7 p.m. Tuesday semifinal at Brookwood Athletic Complex.
Montague finishes a strong season with an 11-6-0 overall record.
Here are details from the match:
- In a sudden-death shootout, each team gets up to five penalty kicks. Montague missed its first kick, made the second and thid attempts, and missed the fourth. Newaygo made all four of its PKs.
- Newaygo senior standout Grace Painter, the daughter of Lions coach Matt Painter, got the Lions on the board first with a goal with 3:46 remaining in the first half. Her team carried that lead into the halftime break. She will be continuing her soccer career at Trinity Christian College.
- Montague knotted the score at 1 near the 24-minute mark of the second half on the first of two goals by sophomore Ava Pelton.
- With 5:37 remaining in regulation, Newaygo went back in front on a goal by Connelly Hefferan. That lead didn’t last long, as Pelton tallied again 32 seconds later.
- The teams played two 10-minute overtime periods, but the score remained 2-2, meaning the game was to be decided by penalty kicks.
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