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Act Two: Paradise Wins on Penalty Kicks to Join Brevard in Championship Match
November 16, 2012 - It was only fitting that a Friday that began with great drama would end with great drama.
After No. 1-seeded Brevard Community College advanced to Saturday's 6 p.m. final of the NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer National Tournament on a goal that barely beat the game-ending whistle 2010 champion and No. 2 seed Paradise Valley Community College advanced on penalty kicks.
If Paradise's victory over Iowa Western Community College 5-4 on penalty kicks - the game was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods - wasn't dramatic enough a controversial officiating decision made things even more tense.
The game referee issued a yellow caution card to Paradise sophomore Jessie DeLeon after she approached the ball on her kick and then stopped. However, contrary to the rule that mandates a player must come off the field after receiving a yellow card during the flow of the game DeLeon was allowed to remain and take the kick which she converted. That tied things at 4-4.
Currently there is no rule that a player issued a yellow card during penalty kicks must come off the field.
Iowa Western freshman Breann Robarge then missed her attempt and Paradise freshman Kristin Lydiard beat Iowa Western goalkeeper Jhani Williams for the 5-4 margin that moved Paradise Valley into the final.
Game officials conferred with Paradise head coach Kacie Bingham, Iowa Western head coach Brad Silvey and tournament and NJCAA representatives after the final kick and ruled the result was official.
Silvey took the outcome in stride.
"It's been a fantastic season, it's been a fantastic ride," said Silvey whose team finished 19-2-1. "I thought we might have had one more little trick up our sleeve and I thought momentum changed even within the penalties for us for a little bit.
"Unfortunately our sixth kicker stepped up and it's a ton of pressure to deal with and I've been there, done that. Unfortunately she missed and our goalkeeper couldn't get the save we really would have liked. That's the beauty of the game."
As for the rules controversy: "I'm not one to get all caught up in that," Silvey said. "We're here we want a fair game. I think the officials did that for us. I'm not going to bat two eyes at it. We'll talk to the team. We'll recover. We'll rebuild and do it again next year."
Freshmen Ashley Stein, Erica Gonzalez and Courtney Chung converted Paradise's other penalty kicks. Freshman Marina Galaz, freshman Thais Tavares, sophomore Morgan Olen and freshman Juliana Oliveira converted for Paraside Valley.
Lydiard had a matter-of-fact approach to the winning goal.
"Confidence and relax," she said of her frame of mind. A 19-year-old who is in her eighth year of soccer she said she had converted pressure-packed penalty kicks earlier in her career – although had no occasion to do it this season – and just drew on that experience.
"I just pictured myself putting it in the back of the net," she said.
Iowa Western freshman Courtney Acosta got the game's first goal, converting with 15 minutes and 42 seconds to play in the first half as the Reivers were finally able to break out of their own end. Sophomore Ali Doller drew Paradise even with 1:56 to go in the half on an assist from Stein and the score remain tied until the dramatic ending.
That left the task of refocusing Paradise to Bingham.
"We've talked all year long about how overcoming adversity is the key to success," Bingham said. "I think we overcame multiple adversities today to have a chance to compete for a national championship tomorrow (Saturday).
"I think at the end of the day my girls made their shots. That was most important. Today's over. Tomorrow is our next focus."
Paradise stands at 22-0-1. Brevard is 15-1. The curtain on the latest drama that has been the 2012 tournament rises at dusk at Melbourne Central Catholic.
"It's fitting that we both see each other," Bingham said referring to BCC and its dramatic ending.