Subscribe for 17¢ / day

ELDRIDGE — One week ago, the Pleasant Valley girls soccer team saw all its hard work go for naught in a penalty kick loss to Assumption.

Monday night, the Spartans enjoyed the opposite result.

Class 3A No. 8 Pleasant Valley grabbed a 1-0 win over Class 2A No. 6 North Scott, winning 4-3 in penalty kicks at The Pitch.

The Spartans (10-2, 7-1) scored on all four of their chances while the Lancers missed their last two over the net. The win keeps Pleasant Valley's conference title hopes alive, one loss behind Assumption in the standings.

"Over the course of the last week, we really took the loss to Assumption hard," senior Rory Donahue said. "We worked on our PKs every day in practice and we focused on what we did wrong. We were able to improve them tonight and execute well."

Both teams made their first three kicks before Paige Tomlinson missed high for the Lancers (9-6, 4-4). Donahue scored on her chance and another high miss from Rachel Drechsler ended the match.

"Just put it in the back of the net," Donahue said of her mentality. "(Assistant coach Keaton Connell) talked about how we needed to take a stance farther back to get more power on the ball to put it past the keeper so I was focused on getting a lot of strength on my ball."

The rest of the match was back and forth. Pleasant Valley controlled the first 20 minutes before the Lancers countered, while North Scott controlled the start of the second half before the Spartans grabbed momentum back.

With a week off between games, the Spartans entered the overtime looking the fresher team, though Jenna Ruccolo was big throughout the match for Pleasant Valley, making seven saves.

"If you're going to play against the best teams in the state, sometimes it might be a very even match and it might go the distance. If it does, you need to be able to execute a PK shootout," Pleasant Valley head coach Ed Knupp said. "We spent some time this past week on our conditioning. We also used more of our bench, had some girls get some varsity time tonight that haven't been playing much and that helps everybody."

North Scott's four conference losses have all been 1-0 defeats, two of those coming in penalty kicks. However, despite Monday's loss, the Lancer offense looked in sync all game and had plenty of chances to score, a positive sign as the postseason approaches.

"We had quality chances. It's coming. Again, we pitched a shutout. Our defense is there, no matter what we do with it," North Scott head coach Dion Ayers said. "I was happy with our effort tonight. I loved some of the diagonal balls we played into the box.

"If we play with that effort, when we get into 2A, we'll be OK, but we've got to start finding the back of the net."


Sports reporter for the Quad-City Times