By Marisa Strawn | firstname.lastname@example.org
If having the pressure on your shoulders to host the NCAA Division II Championship soccer games at home field is not enough, adding pressure of going into penalty kicks with one of the top teams in that conference can be overwhelming. This is exactly what happened to the Flagler College men’s soccer team.
Due to their winning record within the Peach Belt Conference, the men found themselves hosting the championship tournament at home, with each game being an elimination round. This is extremely stressful for a team, knowing that the game they are currently playing, could be their seniors last game as collegiate athletes.
The championship tournament semi-final was a matchup between Flagler College and UNC-Pembroke. Both teams battled through regulation time, but neither team could put themselves ahead.
The game went into “golden goal” overtime, meaning that the first team to score within the ten minute allotted time would win. But, there were still no goals scored. Then, during the second overtime, neither team could put the ball into the back of the net.
After both overtimes completeted, the game then had to be decided with penalty kicks.
“Penalty kicks are more mental than they are physical,” Joseph Toby said, Flagler’s soccer team captain. You’ve got to have a clear head when you go to take your ‘PK’ or the goalkeeper can psych you out. Luckily, our boys kept their cool.”
As the penalty kicks went on, Flagler’s goalkeeper, Camp Bissell found himself stopping the first two.
James said, “Iam not sure how the pressure didn’t get into my head. I was really nervous before the first kick was taken, but then when I stopped the first shot, I felt almost invincible.”
Penalty kicks can really throw a player’s mental game, especially when they are being taken on your home field, in the championship tournament semi-finals, with elimination on your mind.
The pressure of the penalty kicks did not get into Flagler’s heads, and they came out as winners.