WENHAM — The Gloucester girls soccer team sent a clear message to its future opponents Friday:
The Fishermen aren’t going to go down without a fight.
After falling behind to visiting No. 18 seed Melrose early in the second half of yesterday’s Division 2 North preliminary round game, No. 15 seed Gloucester turned it around, found the equalizer midway through the second half and battled to overtime.
Two scoreless overtime periods later, the Fishermen’s fate came down to penalty kicks — and they didn’t disappoint.
Seniors Bianca Giacalone, Kali Cook and Melodie Orrell each buried penalty kicks to seal the 1-1 (3-1 PKs) win for the Fishermen, who move on to face No. 2 seed Hamilton-Wenham on Sunday.
“We like drama,” Gloucester coach Alex White said. “That’s how we’ve been. It was a hard-fought game and both teams didn’t want to lose and it stinks for them. Worst way to lose is on penalty kicks. Someone has to lose, though.”
The skies opened up over the Gordon College field as the clock ticked down during the second of two 10-minute, sudden-death overtime periods. The weather combined with each team’s fatigue and conservative approach to overtime to make it increasingly clear that the game was destined for penalty kicks.
And after a relatively uneventful overtime, the respective seasons for each squad were to be determined by five kicks apiece.
When Gloucester goalkeeper Liz McCormack turned away Melrose’s first attempt, it seemed the Fishermen were in golden position. But Fishermen midfielder Elle Wierbicky’s attempt rang off the post, and the two teams were back to square one.
Melrose striker Olivia Downey and Giacalone traded goals in the second round to keep things square.
In the third and fourth rounds of shooters, though, Melrose sent each of its attempts wide to the right of the net, and the Fishermen took full advantage, as Cook and Orrell each buried their attempts.