Oak Hall's Debra Farina pushes the ball down the field vs. St. Francis

Oak Hall girls soccer rallies to win in penalty kicks, 4-2

Oak Hall girls soccer came back from trailing 1-0 to win 4-2 in penalty kicks versus St. Francis. Coming into this game, Oak Hall were the favorites as the No. 3 seed in the District 1A playoffs, while St. Francis was the No. 6 seed. St. Francis came into this game winless in district play, while Oak Hall came in 1-1.

Last time Oak Hall played St. Francis was Jan. 8, where they won 6-0 in a blowout.

Missing pieces

First-year Oak Hall coach and former University of Florida soccer player Gabby Seiler talked about effort before the game, saying, “We’re missing a lot of starters also, so we’re going to have to play hard and fight until the end.”

Of those starters missing was Lindsay Jenkins, who was out with a concussion. Coach Seiler talked about how Lindsay was, “one of our best players”, and that playing without her would make it, “a completely different ball game.”

Changing the tides

Gabby Aullisio played a key role in her team’s victory, scoring the only goal in regulation for the Eagles with 7 minutes remaining. Her play on the defensive side of the ball helped to turn the game around for Oak Hall. Aullisio saved what would’ve been St. Francis’s second goal of the game when she ran down the shooter from behind to steal the ball back. Superb ball handling and passing skills in her arsenal helped Aullisio to rally her team back to force overtime.

Overtimes (yes, plural)

Oak Hall drew upon the energy from their home crowd to dominate the two overtime periods. The ball rarely left St. Francis’s side of the field as they threatened to score for nearly the entirety of the two 10 minute overtimes. The Eagles played with no defenders back as they tried to end the game in overtime with a multitude of shots on goal but to no avail. At the end of the two overtime periods, the game was still tied 1-1.

The thrill of victory.

Like the overtime periods, Oak Hall dominated the penalty kicks, scoring 3 compared to St. Francis’s 1. Ayesha Khuddus scored the first penalty kick, quickly followed by goalie Karter Thorp, who also stopped 3 St. Francis penalty shots. Ultimately Audrey Clark shot the dagger into St. Francis’s season, nailing the game-clinching penalty kick to send Oak Hall to the District 1A Semi-Finals.

After the game, Audrey Clark commented on how she felt after hitting the game-winning kick. “I was just happy, and I kind of just died a little inside because I was so happy. I was having a panic attack beforehand; I was not ready. But I’m glad I made it because Karter (Thorp) would have killed me.”

The Eagles now advance to the District 1A Semi-Finals, where they hope to advance to the finals under Coach Seiler.

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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