Penalty kicks can be a cruel way to decide a championship, reducing a team game to a one-on-one showdown to determine the winner.
But Credo Christian’s Sarah Slump does not mind them at all.
“I am not too bad at them; I know that it is a 50-50 chance,” she said.
That might be an understatement.
The Kodiaks goalkeeper went an astonishing three-for-three, denying all three Langley Christian Lightning shooters on Thursday afternoon at South Surrey Athletic Park.
The two teams were playing in the Fraser Valley Single A senior girls championship game.
Langley Christian was the top seed while Credo Christian came in as the third seed.
This was the Kodiaks second upset win of the week as two days earlier, they defeated the second-seed Southridge Storm 3-2, in a game which also required penalty kicks.
In that game, Slump came up with a pair of saves in the shootout.
“I have my whole routine, my whole setup that I do,” she explained. “(And) it is fun, I love the thrill of it.”
In Thursday’s championship final, the Lightning scored six minutes into the contest when Alyssa Wall was able to pounce on a loose ball off an Abby Berg corner kick.
The score remained 1-0 for the majority of the game but with about five minutes to play, a cross made its way to the front of the Lightning goal and the Kodiaks’ Caitlin Sikma tapped the ball in.
“At halftime, I just said you have to want it more than them, be the first to the ball,” said Credo Christian coach Shauna Stam.
“Just want it more and give it your all (for) one more half and then you get to rest.”
Neither team was able to score in extra time, sending the game to penalty kicks.
Langley Christian went first and Slump gave her team the early advantage with the stop. Credo Christian would score on their first chance and Slump came up with another huge save. The Kodiaks again scored on their attempt and after Slump made a third stop, Credo drilled home the winning goal.
“I have never stopped this many before (or) stopped them all,” Slump admitted.
“I am proud of how my girls played, we just ran out of some legs at the end,” said Lightning coach Rachel Bauer.
“We battled hard and we played our game — it was good play on both sides.”
This was the second straight year the Kodiaks won the Fraser Valley banner.
“It is a dream come true, it is amazing,” said Slump, who was not on last year’s senior team.
The Lightning — who had 14 returnees among their 17 players — finished third at last year’s Fraser Valley championships.
They have had a strong season, going 6-0-0 in regular season play to finish first, outscoring their foes a combined 26-3. That included a 2-1 win over Credo Christian in early April.
Credo Christian was third in the league at 4-2-0 with their two losses coming to Langley Christian and Southridge.
Both teams now prepare for the B.C. high school provincial championships, which run June 1 to 3 in Kelowna. The Kodiaks will look to build on last year’s provincial tournament success, as they had a school-best third-place finish, defeating Langley Christian in the bronze-medal game.