SOUTH BEND | A win is a win.
Valparaiso couldn't nail things down in regulation, but after a couple of seven-minute overtimes failed to settle the issue the Vikings beat Homestead 1-1 after a round of penalty kicks to advance to the Class 2A South Bend St. Joseph Semistate championship.
"I'll take a win over anything," Valparaiso coach Rob Cespedes said. "If it comes out with a win like this one, I'll take it."
Valpo won the penalty kick round 4-3, with the big save made by keeper Kristina Veljovic on Allison Link's shot. It was the last shot of the penalty kick round and the only one that was saved by either goalie.
"At first, it was surreal. I thought we had another P.K. to shoot in," Veljovic said. "But I just seen my team running at me and I came to the realization that we did it. We did it together."
Veljovic knocked knees with Homestead's Morgann Williams late in regulation and left the game. She returned to the pitch seconds later.
Grace Withrow scored on the Vikings' first shot on goal at 18:38. The kick from 35 yards hung in the air fell just under the crossbar – just out of reach of Spartans keeper Tori Hall.
Homestead evened things at 52:37 on Hannah Miller's pretty pass inside the box to teammate Isabel Wells.
From that point forward, the Spartans – with the aid of a 20 mile per hour wind – controlled the tempo and kept the ball on the Valparaiso side of the field. The Vikings defense still didn't give in.
"They had the wind going with them and at the same time they had some great opportunities and some great connections," Cespedes said. "Luckily, our defense was strong enough to withhold all of that."