Truman junior forward Ashley Peña had a few seconds – a long time of live soccer action – to think about trying to score the winning goal, enough time that her biggest thought was to not mess up her chance for a first-ever game-winner.
After more than 90 chilly minutes of a game played largely between the penalty boxes, Peña’s breakaway goal at 94:07 in the second overtime gave the Patriots’ girls soccer team a 2-1 season-opening win Tuesday over visiting Fort Osage.
Fort Osage’s Zoe Bedsworth had just tried only the fifth corner kick of the game. Truman was able to clear ahead directly to Peña, who had a half-step on Stevee Naudet. Fort Osage (1-1) goalie Lydia Calderon came to the top of the penalty box to try and thwart the breakaway and stopped Peña’s initial shot, but the rebound went right back to Peña, who then dribbled around and poked in the game-winner.
“Just not give up, staying with it, that’s the only thing I could do,” said Peña, whose team had trailed 1-0 at halftime. “Like coach said, attitude and effort. You have the attitude that you’re going to win, and have the effort to win.”
Truman coach Jared Byrne said he hoped the Patriots might get a breakaway counter.
“Off a corner kick, the other team's always most vulnerable, and Peña took off at the right time,” he said. “She stayed with it. That goal was indicative of the game.”
Fort Osage coach Andrew Fletcher said it was simply a matter of a couple bounces not going the Indians’ way.
“They’re all down and sad, but if we’d scored, we’d be jumping around,” he said. “It would essentially be the same game.
“We played pretty well and knocked the ball around. The first overtime we had how many chances? Credit to Truman. They have some nice players and are a much-improved team from last year.”
Bedsworth put several long-range shots on or near goal after halftime, and in the first overtime Aspen O’Neal had what appeared to be a clean shot in the middle of the penalty box before a Truman defender made enough of a tackle to send the shot awry. O’Neal went down but didn’t receive a penalty shot.
Truman had a couple golden chances in the early minutes, but Sonya McCaslin skidded one just wide of the far right post and Fort Osage defender Emily Jungmeyer made an alert kickaway save off a corner kick scramble.
The Indians then struck in the 13th minute when Truman goalie Maya Coen ranged out to left wing to make a sliding stop but Marino Rios collected the rebound and chipped a shot over a couple defenders into the net. It was Rios' second goal of the young season.
Truman got the equalizer at 52:57 when McCaslin’s 25-yarder grazed just off the extended fingertips of Calderon into the net. Laura Carpio got the assist.
Fort Osage outshot Truman 15-8, with seven of those shots on goal. Coen made six saves and Calderon two.
“They played together as a team, for sure,” Byrne said. “They got down a goal and didn’t hang their heads, they just kept playing.
“The attitude was great and the effort was great.”