Girls’ Sectional Soccer: Disputed goal in OT lifts Bethlehem (with photo gallery)

It’s not like the rivalry between the Shenendehowa and Bethlehem girls’ soccer teams needed any extr

It’s not like the rivalry between the Shenendehowa and Bethlehem girls’ soccer teams needed any extra sizzle.

Wednesday night’s Section II Class A final between the Suburban Council rivals ended up with the same result as the past two years, with the Eagles coming out one goal better and going on to regional play.

This 3-2 overtime win will be remembered for Dana Donnelly’s winning goal, a left-footed inswinging corner kick from the right side that snuck inside the far post with 2:45 left in the first 10-minute overtime session.

The referee positioned on the end line at that post did not immediately make the trad­itional signal of a goal being scored.

Bethlehem celebrated, anticipating a fourth straight Class AA championship.

Shenendehowa pleaded, feeling that the entire ball did not cross the goal line.

Donnelly and her coach were two of the people farthest from the goal.

“Everything was crazy. We only had about two minutes left. I knew the corner was going to be all we were going to have,” Donnelly said. “I set it up, I took a breath and hoped for the best. I tried to hit it into the box. But it curved right into the corner.”

From the far corner, she wasn’t sure what happened at the other post.

“I saw it on the line, but I couldn’t actually see if it went in the goal. It was only after I heard the call, then we went crazy.”

“Dana has been curving those in, and the wind was blowing in that direction. She curved it into the goal,” said Bethlehem coach Tom Rogan, whose team has now ended Shenendehowa’s season the last four years, beginning with an OT semifinal in 2008.

But, was it in?

“You can’t tell from our perspective,” said Rogan. “All you can ask is that the official is on the end line to make the call. And that’s where he was.”

Shenendehowa’s bench was the closer of the two to that end of the field. Plainsmen coach Holli Muholland is convinced the play did not result in a goal. She and athletic director Christopher Culnan pleaded their case to a three-person protest committee, made up of league representatives on site.

“What they continue to tell me is that it’s a judgment call,” Mulholland said. “Because it is a judgment call and there was not tech­nical error on the rule, there’s nothing we can do. That ball did not break the plane. I have a little bit of a problem with his making the wrong hand gestures.”

“That’s a great ball in, first of all, and I give Bethlehem credit for putting that ball in. But we purposely have kids on the post, holding the post, no matter what. He blew the whistle, and my kids stopped. It’s a tough way to go down, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“We’ve worked hard all season, and we’re in a very tough league, so we’re competing against good teams. That helps us out,” said Bethlehem goalkeeper Katie Nickles after her fourth-seeded team improved to 14-3-2 and earned a Saturday regional final back here at noon, against Liverpool of Section III.

Tara Teal gave Bethlehem the first lead in the first five minutes of Wednesday’s game, finishing off an Autumn Fetterolf pass. Second-seeded Shenendehowa pulled even on a Sylvia Kool goal with 5:39 to play in the first half. Katherine Dority’s goal put Bethlehem back in front with 16:52 to play in the game, but Meghan Merritt made it 2-2, that goal forcing overtime.

Categories: High School Sports

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