HAMPDEN –Kelsie Obi had never faced a penalty kick, Bri Snedeker had never taken one.
The Richmond teammates each came through in sparkling fashion Saturday night to help the Bobcats to a 2-1 victory against Washburn, decided in penalty kicks, in the Class D girls soccer state championship game.
The championship was the third straight for Richmond (16-0-1) and definitely the most hair-raising and pressure packed. Snedeker’s goal into the left corner of the net gave the Bobcats a 3-1 edge in penalty kicks and sealed the victory.
“I have never taken one in a game,” Snedeker said. “I was a little intimidated when they told me I was going fifth.”
Amber Loon and Noell Acord also scored in the penalty kick session for Richmond while Sadie Gosse scored the team’s lone goal in regulation in the first half. Most of the pressure, though, was on Obi, a sophomore playing her first season in goal. One of Washburn’s attempts hit the post, Catelyn Coulombe scored and Obi saved two, the best a diving stop against Kennedy Churchill.
“I look at their legs and their eyes,” Obi said. “They show in their legs which way their knee is moving. I was very nervous. I actually started crying.”
Obi dried her tears long enough to preserve the win.
“She has come leaps and bounds,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said of Obi. “She’s worked awful hard. Before we went to PKs, she was scared to death. The kids were trying to pick her up.”
The Bobcats, many of whom had lost to Washburn in the last two state championship basketball games, had the better of the play in the first half. Gosse controlled much of the action from her center midfield position and put them on the board just over 15 minutes into the game when she dribbled through the middle of the defense and drilled a high shot past goalie Rayah Saucier. Acord drew the assist.
“I just saw an opportunity through the middle,” Gosse said. “I was just trying to get it to a corner.”
The Beavers (15-2-1) nearly tied the game when sophomore Mackenzie Worcester drilled a shot off the left post at the 13 minute mark. Both goalkeepers came up with big saves in the second half. Obi robbed Worcester with a dive to her right seven minutes in, but the team’s leading scorer wouldn’t be denied. With 12:12 left to play, Worcester headed in a crossing pass from Carmen Bragg for her 34th goal of the season.
The momentum shifted to the Beavers and they carried the play for the next few minutes. Loon, a sophomore, nearly ended it, though, when her shot with 1:40 left to play bounced off the crossbar.
“This feels so amazing because it’s my last year and we’ve just worked so hard for everything that we’ve had,” Gosse said. “I didn’t really expect them to come back like they did but I’m glad that we kept pushing through.”
Washburn put 14 shots on goal while Richmond recorded 19. Obi finished with 10 saves and Saucier had 12.
The three state championships in a row matches a record set by Richmond from 1992-94 and Waynflete from 1995-97.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638