Bonnies Beat Kearney In OT To Win Second CHSAA Title
Just prior to game time Fontbonne Coach, Paddy O’Sullivan told his team, “Whether you win or lose today, walk off the field proud after you shake hands with the Kearney girls because you’ve had an incredible season.”
In fact it was an incredible season for Kearney (8-0-2) and Fontbonne (7-0-3) since both these evenly matched teams had in fact tied each other twice during the regular season by identical scores of 2-2; and this game would be both teams’ third consecutive meeting for the championship. In 2003 Kearney took the title by the score of 2-1, and in 2004 Fontbonne won the title by another 2-1 score.
Kearney won the coin toss and put the wind at their back dominating play for the first half in the Fontbonne end. The Tigers’ forward Emily Buckley immediately put the pressure on the Bonnies with repeated shots on goal that Fontbonne’s goalie, Belle Harbor’s Tara McLaughlin handily stopped and cleared. The few Fontbonne attempts made on goal in the Kearney end were all short circuited by the tough Tiger defense. It looked like the period would finish in a scoreless tie until Kearney’s Meaghan Fitzpatrick took a long clear shot on goal with one minute left. She lofted a 40 yard rainbow into the top of the net over the outstretched hands of the Fontbonne goalie for the first score of the game.
Kearney resumed their attack only to be shut down by the Fontbonne defense as goalie Tara McLaughlin continued to make one spectacular save after another. With 4 minutes left the Bonnies made a run into the Kearney end that looked as if it would stand up for the game winning score. Laura Palumbo sent a mid-field pass to teammate Amanda Ferrarotto who shot the ball so hard that it unbelievably went right through the corner of the outstretched net.
With time running out, Coach Candela sent all of his players up to attack in an attempt to tie the game. On a routine play goalie Tara McLaughlin came out of net to clear a loose bounding ball, only to have one of her own defenseman beat her to the ball clearing it onto the waiting foot of a Kearney player. Moving the ball up just a few steps, Kearney’s Kristina Iudica sent the tying goal into an open net right past the out-of -position Fontbonne goalie for a 2-2 tie to force overtime with just 30 seconds left.
Fontbonne started the overtime period on the offensive with several strong runs into Kearney’s box that would eventually result in the winning score. Laura Palumbo sent a crossing pass straight across the Kearney goal cease to Ashley O’Sullivan who stopped the ball on a high bounce. Once the ball came down within her range, she swiped the ball into the short side of the net; a shoulder high kick that would stand up for the winning 3-2 score until the final whistle.
After the game the Fontbonne players and families gathered at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House for the team’s traditional “Win or Lose” end of season dinner celebration where Coach O’Sullivan roasted his players and said goodbye to his outgoing seniors. During the team dinner, Fontbonne mother, Joanne Palumbo commented on the game saying, “I didn’t think that I would see another Fontbonne-Kearney championship as great and exciting as last year’s, but this one was!”