BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern women's soccer team ended its season in tough, heart-breaking fashion on Saturday, falling in penalty kicks to Berry to exit the Southern Athletic Association Tournament.
The SAA quarterfinal battle was back-and-forth with both Birmingham-Southern (9-5-3, 4-2-1 SAA) and Berry (8-6-3, 3-3-1 SAA) grabbing spells of possession and dominance throughout. But after 110 minutes of play the game would be decided at the penalty spot, where the Vikings eventually came out on top.
The match started fast. Berry opened up the scoring in the fourth minute, striking a ball from outside the 18-yard box that just got past the outstretched arms of BSC junior goalkeeper Blakley Jones (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Holy Spirit Catholic HS).
But it took just 51 seconds for 'Southern to respond to Berry's opener. Courtesy of a back pass into the box from freshman Gabby Bernal (Odenville, Ala./John Carroll Catholic HS), junior forward Sydney Barrow (Birmingham, Ala./Indian Springs HS) found the back of the net with a misdirecting flick that beat the Viking goalie to equalize.
In the 12th minute, Berry retook the lead when an attempted clearance by Jones was blocked by an opposing forward and ricocheted into the back of BSC's net. The visitors would take the 2-1 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the game remained competitively balanced with BSC holding a mere 11-10 shot advantage over Berry in the final 45 minutes. But the Panthers eventually found another equalizer in the 78th minute to make it 2-2. After a Berry foul, freshman defender Angie Piccini (Mobile, Ala./McGill-Toolen Catholic HS) took a free kick and sailed it into the box where it came to the feet of Barrow, who once again buried it to pull BSC back. It was Barrow's 11th goal of the year and Piccini's second assist.
The 2-2 stalemate would hold for the next 32 minutes, which included 20 minutes of action-packed overtime, sending the game to the defining shootout period.
In the end, BSC missed its opening penalty kick and its fifth and final PK while the Vikings converted on all four of their attempts, giving them the 4-3 PK advantage and a spot in the SAA semifinals.
Jones finished the match with seven saves. The Panthers were outshot 29-23 with both teams managing 10 shots on goal.
Birmingham-Southern ends the 2019 campaign in the SAA quarterfinal for the second consecutive season. The Panthers end the season, its first under head coach Katelyn Geddings, with a 9-5-3 record overall.
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