Captures the LAWSL Division three Cup, 3-2, winning final in penalty kicks
Monday August 20, 2018
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, ON. - Following a dominating regular season, the St. Thomas Scorpions were hoping to finish with some hardware.
However, the Byron Force had other ideas, taking London and Area Soccer League (LAWSL) Third Division's top team, to penalty kicks in the Third Division Cup final and winning, 3-2, at the Hellenic Centre.
Tied following regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, Byron won in kicks, five goals to four.
"It was a great game. They're (Byron) a really good fast team and they brought it to us. They had super desire. Byron earned it tonight," said St. Thomas coach Jaime Earhart. "It's tough to take the loss on penalties."
St. Thomas led 2-0 at half, with striker Jaylin Wismer setting up goals by Nicole Carnegie and Megan Payne.
Byron came alive in the second half, quickly tying the game on an Elizabeth Sutherland penalty shot, followed by a hard, long strike from Desiree Valencia-Lopez.
"We took a tough call on the penalty, a foul in the box (leading to Byron's opening goal)," said Earhart. "(Byron) came to the ball way quicker in the second half. They stepped up to the ball so fast. I thought we owned the overtime but just couldn't find the net."
The Scorpions' best chance in overtime was Haley Aguis directing the ball towards the net, with the Byron goalie out of position. But Julie Oliveira standing a foot outside the goal line cleared the ball away for Byron.
St. Thomas started the game without four players, including centre-back Amanda Vlasman, then centre-back Cameryn Saunders had to leave at half-time, due to work commitments.
"It may have been different game. It certainly hurt missing players," said Earhart. "(But) those who came gave us two hours of amazing soccer. We gave them a game."
St. Thomas also didn't have a regular goalie, instead requiring Wismer, for the penalty kicks, and striker Rianne Neill, to be in net.
St. Thomas finishes first in the LAWSL East Division, with a 15-0-1 record, only losing 1-0 to Dorchester. The Scorpions scored 60 goals in those games and allowed just nine.
During their Third Division Cup run, St. Thomas defeated West Lorne, the West Division's top regular season team (11-3-0) and Wallaceburg.
Next year, St. Thomas will be bumped to Division Two.
"It's a tough one, to be one of your only two losses. We won the league and we're super proud of that. It was overall a wonderfully rewarding season," said Earhart. "Hopefully the girls come back and we make a good showing in second division."