In the end, it came down to just one final round of penalty kicks. All though Wicked came up a bit short of a State Cup Championship in a tremendous battle, to reach the finals is a great accomplishment.
Dedicated to a season long goal of a State Cup Championship, the Wicked gave a highly regarded Santa Rosa Club all it could handle and played well enough to win. Yet, after completing regulation and two full overtime periods, a match that could not have been more evenly played was to be decided on penalty kicks.
West Coast Soccer Wicked keeper Jessie Cahill met the challenge for the Wicked by turning away the first two United kicks and putting her team in position for the victory. Unfortunately, the Wicked could not capitalize with their own penalty kicks and finished on the short end of the 2-1 count.
This was an outstanding team performance and the Wicked created numerous opportunities for the victory throughout the match. From the outset, the Wicked pressed the attack with an up tempo style and had the United club on its heels early. Coach Stuart Rafferty rotated his midfield groups frequently to keep the pace and pressure up and both sets responded with high intensity efforts that provided a number of scoring opportunities. Cameo Schubert, Kalyn Ganz, Jordan Volponi and Nadia Ranagan alternated with Adi Ruiz, Kate Chase, Mackenzie Paulo and Allyson Marty in a seamless fashion that pressed Santa Rosa throughout the game. Ranagan enabled the Wicked to draw first blood with a long assist placed beautifully at the feet of Carleigh Thurman who had nothing but green grass and a goalie to beat for the score. The Santa Rosa goalie proved only a modest barrier to Thurman who beat her to give the Wicked a 1-0 first half lead. Shortly before the half, Adi Ruiz took a crossing ball from Misha Brewster and missed just wide of the post for what could have been a decisive lead. The second half started with the Santa Rosa team sensing the desperation of the situation and responding with a furious attack of their own. The West Coast Wicked defensive line anchored by Claire Soule and Shasta Grant on the outside with Shannon Holt patrolling the center turned away a number of attacks. Holt played a physical game in the middle and received good cover support from Soule and Grant. Up front, the West Coast Wicked attack was led by Misha Brewster, Molly Scheid and Carleigh Thurman. Brewster nearly put in a header for yet another goal while Scheid pressed the attack throughout the game. Despite the tough loss, the West Coast Wicked end up the year with 14 wins, 10 losses and 5 ties.
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