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Girls fall in shootout

The Whitehall girls soccer season ended when Northampton’s Alex Benedict lofted the ball over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Samantha Kern, lifting the Kids to a 2-1 victory in the opening round of the district playoffs.

Benedict’s penalty kick proved to be the game winner as the Kids struck twice during the penalty shootout, claiming the 2-1 victory and advancing to the quarterfinals of the District XI 4A Championship.

The game was knotted at 1-1 at the end of regulation, with Alyssa Marsteller’s goal tying the contest in the first half after the Kids got on the board when Lauren Straub went high into the right corner to give the hosts the 1-0 lead. Both goals came in rapid succession, and Whitehall head coach Chris Bleam believed that would be a portent of things to come.

However, they Zephyrs weren’t able to find the back of the net again, and after a scoreless overtime, the game was decided by penalty kicks. Senior Abigail Vivian kept their playoff hopes alive by skidding it past goalkeeper Olivia Vajda into the right corner, but that’s all the goals they could muster as the Kids put an end to their season once Benedict struck the twine.

They finished the season 6-7-1.

Bleam said that they had some good opportunities during the second half, but weren’t able to convert on those chances.

“I think in the second half we were generating enough chances to end the game, and I thought we would put the game away there,” he said.

He said that it was a well played game on both sides, a hard-fought battle that befitted these two schools who’ve annually competed head-to-head in the Cement Bowl Challenge.

Bleam said that his team played tremendously and never lost that competitive desire throughout the match.

“I was really proud of their effort,” said Bleam.

He also got to witness the growth of a young team that answered the bell every time the whistle blew. They’ll be losing seniors Elissar Khalil and Abigail Vivian, two cornerstone pieces, but he’s excited about the development of his young team this season.

Press photo by Linda Rothrock Alyssa Marsteller scored a goal to tie the game at 1-1 but the Zephs eventually fell in a PK shootout.