To the satisfaction of those rooting for Swanton and any neutral fan in attendance, Swanton avoided a penalty kick shootout when freshman Alaina Pelland notched the game-winning goal at the 6:41 mark of second overtime, sending the Bulldogs to the Division III district final with a 3-2 double overtime win over Ottawa-Glandorf in girls soccer Tuesday at Evergreen.
On a ball played upfield, Pelland just beat O-G goalkeeper Ashton Okuley to the ball and her shot skipped into the back of the net for the Bulldog victory.
“I don’t know how we got that goal,” said Swanton coach Jim Dickman after the game. He said he was just “glad” that it didn’t go to penalty kicks, which would obviously leave it more to chance.
The action really began after halftime when the Bulldogs – now with the wind at their back – went ahead 2-0.
Aricka Lutz banged one home at the 33:38 mark of the half as Swanton went up 1-0. Just over two minutes later, Averie Lutz booted a free kick from 30 yards out that took a funny hop on Okuley to give the Dogs a two-goal advantage.
However, the Titans would respond to tie it.
With 31:08 remaining in regulation, Kelsey Erford put one in to cut the Swanton lead in half. Then with 17:27 left, Lauren Siefker scored with help of a crossing pass from Clara Beach, knotting the score at 2-2.
Swanton had some decent chances in first overtime, coming up just short.
Aricka Lutz drilled one from the right side of the net at the 13:09 mark, however, Okuley made the save. She then snagged one off the foot of the Dogs’ Gaby Bowers from inside 20 yards with 6:58 left.
Despite surrendering the two goals, Bulldog keeper Frankie Nelson was stellar down the stretch to help her team get the win.
“She made some great saves. Especially on those corners (corner kicks),” said Dickman of Nelson.
The Dogs outshot O-G 19-15 on the night.
Swanton now gets Archbold in the district final on Saturday. The Blue Streaks advanced with a 1-0 win in overtime over Evergreen in the nightcap.
“We’re a better matchup with Archbold. Tied them 1-1 (during the season),” said Dickman before knowing who they would play.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010