Gretchen Goldberg never liked practicing one-on-ones, but yesterday the St. Paul's goalie was sure glad she had.
The Gators veteran, who never before had faced a shootout in a game, cleared away three of No. 4 Bryn Mawr's five attempts to preserve a 3-2 edge in the shootout and a 1-0 victory for the Gators in an AIS A Division semifinal.
No. 8 St. Paul's (11-0-4) will meet defending champion and No. 9 Garrison Forest (7-0-5), a 1-0 winner over Severn in the other semifinal, for the tournament championship tomorrow at 2 p.m. at St. Paul's.
With so many ties during the regular season including their own scoreless meeting, both teams had practiced the one-on-ones regularly and it certainly paid off. Goldberg knew exactly what she wanted to do against each shooter, who had 10 seconds to score starting from the 25-yard line.
"My coach told me to come out as much as I could, but not too fast," said Goldberg. "Coming out slower uses up more of their time, because then they have to come to me and it cuts down the angle. I just wanted to stay low and balanced and let them make the mistake and, when they did, jump on it."
The teams alternated shooters with the Gators' Sarah Oglesby and Bryn Mawr's Robin MacColl each scoring on their teams' first attempts. But Goldberg would not allow another ball to reach the cage.
After Bryn Mawr keeper Ellen Phillips saved Mills Hook's shot, Goldberg came out to stop Emily Hickman from even getting a shot off.
Libby Hoyle then gave the Gators a 2-1 lead and Goldberg came out a little too aggressively after the next Mawrtian shooter, Katie MacColl. Goldberg just clobbered MacColl, who was awarded a goal on the foul.
"I came up for the ball and I didn't mean to take her out," said Goldberg. "The ball was loose off her stick and I just figured go for it. The adrenalin is really going and I just missed and hit her instead."
That tied the shootout at 2-2 with two shooters left for each team. Hilary Polk-Williams scored on St. Paul's next try and Goldberg cleared away the ball from Bryn Mawr's last two shooters, Kim Smith and Katie Cole, to preserve the victory.
"She was just awesome today," said Oglesby. "I think that's the worst position to be in, the worst. She concentrated and just went out there and did what she had to do. We had a little job to do and she had a big job to do."
Bryn Mawr (8-1-4) took two shots in overtime compared to one for St. Paul's, but one carried wide and Gators back Nikki Satyshur cleared away the other.
"They had their chances and we had ours," said Bryn Mawr All-Metro Emily Hickman.