CHATHAM, NJ - As the overtime wound down and it became obvious there was going to be a penalty-kick shootout, Chatham girls soccer goalie Caroline Viscovich decided she was going to go with "rubber ducks."
"When there was less than two minutes left, I was thinking if this goes into PKs, I have to just zone out," Viscovich said. "Morgan Maltby (last year's senior co-captain) said in an interview that she thought of rubber ducks. I was like, I'm going for that one. It helped me out."
The junior looked like she was swatting rubber ducks floating in a bathtub during the shootout, making it look easy as she stopped two Warren Hills attempts in helping Chatham win the shootout, 4-2. The game had been tied, 1-1, through two overtime periods, forcing the state tournament shootout tiebreaker.
Chatham (10-6-5) travels to meet Roxbury on Friday in the second round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 state tournament.
"It was the Mendham game (when Maltby mentioned rubber ducks last season)," Chatham coach Chris Mazurkiewicz said. "When we get close to situations like this, we talk about it. It's not a guessing game. It's not foolproof, but there is a way to read where they're going."
After using the vision of "rubber ducks" to calm her nerves, Viscovich took advantage of the knowledge she gained from Mazurkiewicz, a former goalie, to make two big saves in the shootout. Viscovich dove left to deny the second shooter for Warren Hills (13-6-3) and then sprawled to her right in stopping the kick by the fourth shooter.
"We practice and practice a lot," Viscovich said. "Maz really prepared us. He was really able to give us advice from when he played. He gave advice on reading where the person is going and how to react. Because if you completely guess you're not going to get it every time. Just see how they're positioning and how they're looking and just don't think about it. I go with my instincts because we practice it so much."
Meanwhile, Chatham's shooters were perfect against Blue Streaks goalie Kendal Koch. Freshman Camryn Davies, senior Morgan Callahan, sophomore Shannon Lamb and senior Emily Walczyk all made their kicks for Chatham. It seemed like luck was on Chatham's side when Davies' shot hit off the inside of the right post and in.
"I was crying I was so nervous," Callahan said. "It was nerve-wracking."
In the first half, sophomore Nicole Smizaski's unassisted goal had staked Chatham to a 1-0 edge before Warren Hills tied it on a goal by Katelyn Lauziere before the break.
Nicole Smizaski scored for Chatham in the first half of state tournament game with Warren Hills in video below