Shelton wins on penalty kicks

Samantha Hartmayer slotted her game-winning penalty kick into the net to lift coach Marvin Miller’s fourth-seeded Shelton High girls soccer team to a 2-1 (7-5 PK) victory over top-seeded Mercy High in the Southern Connecticut Conference semifinals at Tiger Field in Middletown on Friday.

“This is our first overtime and first time we went to penalty kicks this season,” Miller said after the Gaelettes clinched their third straight trip to the SCC finals.

“Last year we lost in LL’s [state tourney] on the 29th penalty kick to Staples [of Westport].

“This is a different season, with a lot of new faces. It’s taken us all season...This was just a slugfest.”

Shelton improved to 9-3-6 with the victory, while Mercy dipped to 14-2-2. The Gaelettes will play in the finals at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at West Haven High.

Mercy had Shelton chasing all game, as it scored in the fourth minute on a goal from Kaitlyn Dempsey before the Gaelettes tied it on Vanessa Marques’ unassisted goal inside the 32nd minute.

When it came time for penalty kicks, Shelton keeper Micaela Joyce stopped Mercy’s Danielle Richardson with the Tigers ahead 4-3 to extend the match.

With everything riding on her shoulders, Megan Burke tied things to force a second round of PK’s.

“I was out for a concussion for [the Staples match],” Burke said. “I was counting the shots in my head. We missed and they missed. I knew I was going last.”

Again, Mercy took the lead but it wouldn’t hold up.

At 5-4, Shelton’s Carly Shomsky put one inside the right post to tie things.

Joyce went to her left to stop Katherine Saia and Mercy netminder Elizabeth Falcigno answered in kind with a stop of Alexis Zoppi.

Joyce then handled a dead-on shot from Allyson DeFilippo, before the Gaelettes’ Yarden Tepper tucked one inside the post for a 6-5 Shelton advantage.

“For some reason I was uncontrollably smiling,” Joyce said of her poised demeanor during PK’s. “I’ve guessed before [on shot placement] and it turned bad, so I just waited for it.”

Mercy’s Shannon Hickey ripped one off the crossbar and that left it up to Hartmayer.

“I don’t know what to say,” the sophomore said while being encouraged by Joyce and Burke to share her thoughts. “I wasn’t there [on the field] for those 29 PK’s, I’m just glad mine went in.”