Opening day of the Pioneer Shootout at Anne Arundel Community College was a matter of survival.
Third-ranked Liberty did its part in yesterday afternoon's opener, shaking off a poor start and finally enduring after seven rounds of penalty kicks to get past No. 5 Arundel, 2-1 -- winning the shootout 5-4.
Penalty kicks were in order in the second game, as well, with No. 6 St. Mary's advancing to the championship game after beating No. 11 River Hill -- 4-2 in the shootout -- after the two teams played to a 1-1 tie after regulation.
Liberty will take on St. Mary's in the championship game at 3 p.m. today. River Hill and Arundel will play in the consolation at 1 p.m. The championship game will be a rematch of a week ago, when Liberty defeated St. Mary's in Eldersburg, 3-2.
Last night, St. Mary's senior goalkeeper Amy Mulligan was the hero against talented River Hill, diving left to turn back a shot from Shannon Jackson to get St. Mary's back on track -- 2-2 -- in the shootout.
After Kelly Bertwell gave the Saints a 3-2 lead, Mulligan came up with her second save of the shootout against Natalie Klisas. St. Mary's freshman Kerie Sample then ended it, almost casually finding the top right corner.
"It's really, mostly luck. I guess I guessed right," said Mulligan, who was in the goal for her first shootout. "We had a couple of tough games and knew we had to come out and play hard."
After a 1-1 tie in regulation, the tournament opener also went to penalty kicks to decide who would get the first invitation to today's final.
Liberty freshman Meaghan Voight provided the answer with a score at the lower left corner that gave the Lions a 5-4 lead. That set the stage for Lions keeper Gina Cinquegrani, who came up with her third save of the penalty-kick session off a shot from Arundel's Becky Carlson.
Michelle Allen, Christine Roy, Jen Berarducci and Meredith Priddy also scored penalty kicks for the Lions. Arundel's goals came from Kristin Hunter, Kelly Jordan, Meghan Denehy and Becky Beardsley.
"I felt good about what we did, and Arundel should feel good as well," said Liberty coach Sam DeLaurence. "Our possession game was very nice today. They're a very aggressive and quick team, and we did well to keep our composure. All this is great preparation for the rest of the season."
Arundel coach Tom Degner agreed: "This was good for our girls. To get this strong competition early on gives us an idea what we need to do to get ready for the playoffs. If we learned from this, the tournament will have served its purpose."
Arundel scored early after the Lions had two chances to clear a loose ball inside the penalty area before Snyder deflected a shot off Cinquegrani for a 1-0 Arundel lead 40 seconds in.
Liberty's answer came in the final minute of the first half. Senior Trish Young finished from 25 yards out into an open net after Arundel goalie Erin Hartman left her line to clear a ball.
Pub Date: 9/12/98