More often than not, Truman goalie Maya Coen made the correct educated guess in crunch time Wednesday against Fort Osage.

More often than not, Truman goalie Maya Coen made the correct educated guess in crunch time Wednesday against Fort Osage.

With the score 1-1 after regulation and two overtime periods, Truman needed Coen to stop more penalty kicks than her Fort Osage counterpart, Haley Thomas, during the decisive shootout. The sophomore stopped four out of five attempts to help the Patriots win the shootout 2-1 and secure a 2-1 non-conference road win.

“It’s always a guessing game for PKs,” Coen said. “It’s always in the kicker’s favor. They should always know where to go, and I guess ... luck was with me today.”

However, a few strategies may have helped Coen to win Wednesday’s “guessing game.” One was to keep her feet moving.

“If I keep my feet still, it’s not as good of a jump as if I keep my feet moving right there on the line,” she said.

Knowledge about kicker’s tendencies may have helped, too.

“Most kickers like to kick across their body,” Coen said. “If you get a right-footer, they’ll mostly kick across and they’ll go to my right.”

But that wasn’t the case when Coen faced Kelsey Robertson, who slipped in a ground-hugging shot to give Fort Osage a 1-0 edge in the shootout.

“She’s a (right-footed) kicker and I guessed my right, but she went left,” Coen said.

From there, Marit Gjerde lined in the tying penalty kick and Coen stopped a liner by Mercedes Marriott to set up the game-winning kick by Shayla Jochum.

Any advantage Jochum had in terms of knowing her point of attack was probably offset by the stress the Truman forward felt when preparing to kick. Any penalty kick is stressful for the kicker, according to Jochum.

“In your head, you’re just like, ‘I have to do this for my team,’” she said. “You have to make your shot. Otherwise, you feel like you’ve let your whole team down.”

“Your heart’s racing,” Jochum added. “It’s tough to focus and put it in the goal.”

Of course, if the Indians (10-8) would’ve had their way, Coen wouldn’t have needed to play her guessing game and Jochum wouldn’t have needed to overcome stress, because Fort Osage would’ve decided it before the shootout. And indeed, the Indians put themselves in position to win it in regulation and then during the two sudden-death overtime periods. Beth Bedsworth gave Fort Osage a 1-0 lead late in the first half. But then, Amber Young scored in the second half to force overtime.

During both overtime periods, Fort Osage repeatedly threatened to score, but came up empty. A Fort Osage goal at the end of the first overtime, for example, was nullified because time had expired. In the fifth minute of the second overtime, junior defender Alli Ventresca’s shot smacked the top of the crossbar.

“We were moving the ball well,” Ventresca said. “We had our opportunities.”

Having repeated near-misses, as was the case Wednesday, is frustrating, Ventresca said.
“But you’ve got to keep going,” she added. “It just pushes you more to get that next goal.”

Based on Fort Osage’s performance in overtime, the Indians “maybe deserved to sneak a goal” into the net, Fort Osage girls soccer coach Andrew Fletcher said.

Fletcher didn’t fault Fort Osage for going 1-for-5 during the ensuing shootout. The Indians faced a “good goalkeeper,” he said.

“She was great,” Fletcher said. “She extended those arms.”

Truman coach Jared Byrne figured the Patriots (8-7) would have a good advantage during a shootout. That mindset affected his overtime strategy.

“Toward the end of the second overtime, when I could tell we were out of gas, we dropped another defender back and we were just playing to that PK,” Byrne said.