High school soccer shootouts are both marvelous and crushing at the same time, an unfair way for one team to finish a season while another squad advances in ecstasy. Still, some shootouts are even more dramatic than others, like the one that unfolded near Columbus on Tuesday night, were Powell (Ohio) Olentangy Liberty High faced off against Beavercreek (Ohio) High in a Division I state semifinal.
The score at the end of regulation was 1-1, but that hardly foretold of the drama that was to come in the penalty-kick shootout. Its final score? A 14-13 win for Liberty.
That's right, an Ohio state semifinal sudden-death shootout went 14 rounds before a winner could be crowned. Even more incredibly, both teams hit all of their first 13 attempts. According to the Columbus Dispatch, that's when Patriots goalkeeper Anderson deAndrade stopped the 14th Beavercreek kick, which was attempted by Josh Molter, with a low dive to his right.
You can see video of deAndrade's game-winning save right here or just check it out above.
"He tried to get me to lean one way," deAndrade told the Dispatch. "I was going to my right no matter what. I knew I would save one. I just didn't know which one. I was kicking myself in the butt [over missed saves]. It was perfect shot after perfect shot for both teams."
The emotional victory earned Liberty a spot in the state finals on Friday at nearby Columbus Crew Stadium, an MLS venue which will almost surely feature a heavily partisan Liberty crowd. The Patriots -- who had never advanced beyond the district playoffs before the ongoing 2011 campaign -- will face off against perennial national power Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius School, which has won two of the state's prior three Division I state crowns.
That daunting task hardly limited the exuberant reactions from Liberty's coach and players on Thursday after their monumental penalty-kick victory, which also featured an incredible game-tying goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
"I'm running out of adjectives to describe these guys," Liberty coach Rick Collins told the Dispatch. "Every time we're down in a game we find a way to get the equalizer."