By Jimmy LaRoue
Midlothian, Va. - The Herndon Firecats had to overcome a two-goal deficit in regulation, and the dismissal of their coach at the end of overtime.
But they rallied gamely, and finally forged ahead in the sudden-death stage of a penalty-kick shootout to advance to the finals of the Under-17 Girls Virginia State Cup with a stunning 4-3 win over the Lee-Mt. Vernon Patriots on Saturday.
Goals from Niki Clark and Kara DeGuisto allowed the Firecats to force overtime, and then the two teams exchanged goals in the overtime session before moving on to penalty kicks, where the teams battled to the sixth round before Firecats goalkeeper Caroline Collier saved LMVSC’s final attempt.
The game was stopped for about 10 minutes near the end of the first half after a goalmouth collision left the Patriots’ starting goalkeeper injured. She sat out the second half and much of overtime, but came back into the match in the latter stages, before the shootout.
In the other U-17 semifinal, VSA Heat Blue raced out to a 3-0 halftime lead before cruising to a 4-0 win over Richmond Kickers Elite to advance to meet the Firecats in the final.