After missing two weeks late in the regular season with a knee injury, Brianna Heyer was out of the group of five kickers Lincoln-Way West had practice penalty kicks regularly.
Heyer, however, got the call to be the fifth shooter in the shootout Wednesday against Tinley Park. She was a bit surprised, but plenty confident.
“I knew that I even though I hadn’t taken one in awhile, I was ready,” she said. “I knew I could make it.”
With the shootout tied at 3-3, Heyer calmly struck a line drive to her right and into the net for the game-winning goal as the Warriors outlasted the Titans 1-0 in a Class 2A Lincoln-Way West Sectional semifinal in New Lenox.
Heyer got Tinley Park goalie Alexis Boyer leaning to Heyer’s left and fired the bullet past her.
The second-seeded (18-5-1) Warriors advanced to the first sectional final in program history and will take on top seed Lemont at 5 p.m. Friday. No. 3 seed Tinley Park finished 17-7.
Each team went 3-for-4 in the first four rounds of the shootout before West goalie Audrey Pearson made a huge save, smothering a shot at her chest, in the fifth round to set up Heyer’s heroics.
“It was nervewracking, but I knew I just had to block that out,” Pearson said. “I made my mind up about where to go and I was right and was able to knock the shot down. It was a great feeling. I’ve watched the goalies before me and saw how upset they were when they lost in the playoffs, and I didn’t want that to happen.”
Teagan Lyke, Emily Wyskiel and Meghann Lange also scored in the shootout for West.
Stephanie Nichols, Elizabeth Carrillo and Breda O’Donnell scored for the Titans.
Pearson and Boyer each made four saves in keeping the shutouts intact through 100 minutes.
The game resumed with 12:42 left in the first half after it was suspended Tuesday due to severe weather. West put pressure on early in the second half, Boyer making a big save on a Brianna Darlage shot and Natalie Tannura firing high on another chance.
Tinley Park’s best chance to score came on a free kick from just outside the box, O’Donnell firing just high with 11:20 left in regulation.
“I thought we played well in the second half,” Tinley Park coach Michelle Youngberg said. “I thought we had a very strong team and could have gone even further than this. It’s tough to have your season end with PKs.”