Girls Soccer: West Clips Xavier In PKs

By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - On a cold, windy day, Jayne Heinrich proved to have ice water in her veins.

The senior goalkeeper usually is the last line of defense for Iowa City West's girls' soccer team, but she coolly stood front and center Tuesday.

Heinrich batted down a third penalty kick in overtime, securing West's 2-1 road victory in a shootout over Class 2A top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier in a battle of Mississippi Valley Conference divisional leaders at Heco Field. The 3A seventh-ranked Women of Troy posted a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks that went six shooters deep, handing the Saints their first home loss since a 3-1 setback to Cedar Rapids Kennedy exactly four years ago.

Heinrich, who will play soccer at Butler University next year, doesn't mind a shootout despite the stress.

"I enjoy pressure," Heinrich said. "At the time, it's very nerve-racking."

The Saints (4-1, 3-1 MVC) forced a sudden-victory shootout when their goalkeeper Sarah Chicchelly made two straight saves and Elizabeth McWhinney punched one by Heinrich to tie it three apiece after the first five shooters. West's Danielle Craig placed a shot in the upper-right of the goal to set up Heinrich's final save, which coincidentally came against Chicchelly.

West coach Dave Rosenthal said he hates shootouts due to the lack of control and the slim margin of error. He can rest a little easier with a senior leader and team captain between the pipes.

"We're blessed to have her," Rosenthal said. "She understands the pressure of playing in these types of games. She likes that pressure. She came up big today."

The Women of Troy (5-1, 4-0 MVC) didn't capitalize on opportunities to prevent a shootout, including a couple breakaways, missed crossing passes, shots that were off the mark and a final corner kick with :25 to go in the second overtime period.

It wasn't the case at about the 28-minute mark. Xavier led, 1-0, when a West shot ricocheted off the crossbar. West midfielder Eleni Katz followed the shot and scored during a flurry in front of the goal, tying the game.

"She was at the right place at the right time," Rosenthal said. "I think we were really scrappy and fortunate we were there to pick it up."

Rosenthal praised his defense and the Women of Troy's team effort. He said they executed the game plan of denying Saints standout Kayla Armstrong the ball and then patiently handling the attack when she got it.

Armstrong gave Xavier the early lead more than 15 minutes into the game, making a move on a defender in the box and then using the side of her foot to slip the ball past Heinrich.
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