As Marissa Metcalf stood in goal Saturday, she knew she couldn't even flinch.
The goalkeeper for the Thomas Worthington High School field hockey team had held Watterson scoreless through regulation and two sudden-victory overtimes. Now she awaited a shot from the Bishops' Maria Swartz, the last of five penalty strokes.
Swartz shot from 7 yards away as Metcalf slid to her left, knocking the ball away to give the top-seeded Cardinals a 1-0 win in triple overtime in a district final at Dublin Scioto.
Thomas made four of its strokes, with Stephanie Littell, Anna Geissbuhler, Hannah Tikson and Courtney Reeder scoring. Molly Valhakis, Mackenzie Schweiterman and Abby Barker scored the Eagles.
But it wasn't that simple. Scores by Valhakis and Barker as well as Geissbuhler and Reeder looked to be knocked away from the net, but officials concluded the goalie had moved before the strike of the ball.
"First, I had to make sure that I didn't move, then I looked at (Swartz') stick to see which side she was tilting it," said Metcalf, whose team improved to 17-1-2 and moves on to a state semifinal at 2:30 p.m. Friday to play Columbus Academy or Olentangy Liberty at Upper Arlington. "She was tilting her stick toward the left side of the goal, so usually that means that's the way she would be going."
Thomas won the state title last season, a 3-0 victory over the Eagles. Watterson won the state title in 2005 with a 4-1 decision over Kettering Fairmont and was runner-up in last season and in 2006 in a 4-0 loss to Academy in the final.
The teams played Oct. 2 with Watterson winning 4-2.
"This was a hard way to win against your best friend (Watterson coach Janet Baird) and against some of the kids that your coach during the summer," Thomas coach Terri Simonetti-Frost, who gave birth to a daughter, Peyton, two weeks ago and has a son, A.J., who will be 3 in December. "It's great that we're still playing, but it's a tough way to go home. Both teams played their hearts out."
Baird agreed that it was a difficult way to end a well-played game.
"(Both teams) were scoreless (before the penalty strokes) and the officials called a great game before that, but it's something they weren't familiar with because it doesn't happen much," said Baird, whose team finished 14-4. "Both teams played great and it's sad that we go away and not get to play again."
The other state semifinal will be at 2:30 Friday at UA with possible opponents would be Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame or Dayton Oakwood against Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown or Hudson. The final will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at UA.