Vienna Last Thursday, May 24 , under ominous skies at Lee High School in Springfield, the Madison Warhawks and Lee Lancers girls’ soccer teams squared off in a hard-fought Northern Regional quarterfinals playoff match that saw four overtime periods before eventually being decided on penalty kicks. Both teams played valiantly for over 100 minutes as Madison ultimately prevailed by a score of 3-3, 3-1 on penalty kicks.
Midway through the first half, senior Shaydah Naraghi opened the scoring for Madison on a hard strike from the left side that gave the Warhawks a 1-0 lead that they would hold for most of the first half. But, with a few minutes remaining in the half, Lee found the Madison goal, to tie the score at 1-1.
As the second half began, the skies opened up and a steady rain fell for the reminder of the game. Madison struck quickly, on a free kick by Rachel Moore. Naraghi netted the rebound in front of the goal to give the Warhawks a 2-1 advantage. But the Lancers fought back and Megan Cox scored two goals on a header and a long-range strike to give Lee a 3-2 lead with time winding down.
As Lee fell back into defense to protect its lead, Madison mounted several last assaults on the Lee goal. With three minutes remaining, Naraghi stepped up once again to score her third goal (a hat trick) that tied the score at 3-3. Naraghi, on the game-tying score, broke open on the right side, took a nice pass from her teammate, dribbled towards the goal, and beat the keeper to the far post.
After a short break at the conclusion of regulation play, the exhausted teams played four, five-minute overtime sessions, with neither team managing to score. With the score tied at 3-3, both teams prepared for the penalty kick shootout to decide which team would move on to the regional semifinals.
THE SHOOT-OUT FORMAT provides five rounds of penalty shots (five by each team) in an alternating format. Madison went first and Moore put the Warhawks ahead, 1-0, with a low, hard shot to the right corner. Lexi Graham, Madison’s keeper who has had a strong and steady season, was ready for the challenge and turned away the first Lee shot to preserve Madison’s 1-0 lead.
Kaitlyn Dorka buried her shot low right to give Madison a 2-0 lead which they held when Graham made another point-blank stop of a Lee shot.
Rebecca Henry gave Madison a 3-0 lead with a low rocket to the left corner. However, Cox scored for Lee to make the score 3-1 after three rounds of penalty kicks.
Madison missed its fourth kick when the Lee keeper anticipated the shot and made a nice stop. However, Graham ended the drama and a long night of soccer when she made one last fabulous stop on a Lee shot to give the Warhawks the win. The referee signaled game over and the Warhawk players rushed to congratulate their goal keeper and celebrate the win.
With the win, Madison advances to the regional semifinals where they will play the Woodson Cavaliers this week on Wednesday, May 30.