The Columbus State soccer team has been through the unpredictability of penalty kicks before. The Lady Cougars wanted to avoid them at all costs.
Kelsey Pelletier made sure they wouldn't be needed as she put in a left-footed goal at 103:51 (3:51 into the second overtime) to give CSU a 1-0 win over Wingate on Sunday at the Walden Soccer Complex.
It was her team-leading ninth goal of the season. The assist went to Andi Larese, who found Pelletier in the left side of the box. Pelletier's goal went in the far right side of the net.
The win came in the second round of the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Lady Cougars will play Lenoir-Rhyne on Nov. 21 in the regional championship game. It will be played at Rollins College in Orlando, Fla.
"The game could have gone either way," CSU coach Jay Entlich said. "You go into overtime and anything can happen.
"But what a big goal from Pelletier. Thank God we didn't go to penalty kicks."
The win also keeps CSU undefeated with a 20-0-1 record.
"It was a big team win," Entlich said. "With this team, you don't know where the goals are going to come from."
The Lady Cougars lost at Wingate last season in the second round on penalty kicks.
"I am just glad we didn't get to penalty kicks," Pelletier said. "Last year we lost and were heartbroken."
CSU appeared to have scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes into the second half. Ashley Miller's shot looked like it crossed the goal as
Wingate goalkeeper Ashlyn Hardle pushed the ball up against the top part of the net.
But the officials ruled the ball didn't fully cross the goalline.
The two defenses controlled the first half as the teams managed just five shots on goal -- four by Wingate and one by CSU.
Play loosened up in the second half, but Hardle and CSU's Maylyn Parsons were up to every challenge.
CSU had eight shots on goals, while Wingate had six in the second half.
Parsons finished the game with her 11th shutout of the season.