Western Nebraska Community College's Laramie Lake made one of the biggest saves of her goalkeeping career late in the second overtime of the Cougar's match with Northeastern Junior College Wednesday at Landers Soccer Complex..
The freshman from Cheyenne, Wyoming, with 3:34 to play in double overtime, made a save on a penalty kick to help the Cougars earn a 2-2 tie with the Plainswomen in a Region IX South Conference contest.
If Lake would have missed the save, the Plainswomen would have walked off with the victory. That wasn't the case. It was a moment that Merrissa Espinoza, a freshman defender from Scottsbluff, said was like a game-winning goal.
"Oh, my goodness, that save was so big," she said. "That save was amazing and it was hard not to tackle her because there was still time in the game. We just wanted to get on her and love her and tell her we were going to buy her dinner tonight. It was just amazing that she saved us so much."
Thankfully, for the Cougar defense stepped up with some big defensive stops to help WNCC earn another tie on the season. WNCC is now 2-3-1 in conference action and 3-7-2 overall on the season.
Espinoza said the team could have played better, but they played well enough to get the tie in weather conditions that was cold with plenty of snow flurries.
"We played our best but we could have done better," Espinoza said. "Our shots were there; e just couldn't finish."
The match had a little bit of everything with scoring and fine defensive plays.
Ten minutes later, Jaycie Dillenburg tied the contest after taking a pass from Michele Pelino. That is where things stayed until halftime.
Midway through the second half, WNCC went up 2-1 after Rafaela Passos scored off an assist from Rafaela Ornelas. The Cougar defense played tough until with seven minutes left when Macy Gurule scored from an assist from Dillenburg.
WNCC had a could chances at the end of regulation but couldn't score to force extra periods.
Neither scored in the first 10-minute overtime period. The second overtime period saw NJC have a prime scoring chance with the penalty kick but Lake's save extended the match.
WNCC outshot NJC 17-11. The Cougars had 12 shots on goal compared to just four for the Plainswomen.
WNCC had three corner kicks in the contest while NJC had four.
Lake had seven saves in net for the Cougars while NJC goalkeeper Nohelia Pena had 13 saves.
The Cougar women will have two regular season contests left. WNCC will face York College junior varsity on Thursday before hosting Northwest College on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the final home contest. Sunday's contest will be sophomore recognition for the five sophomores – Dayeli Limon, Sydney Heimbouch, Tayna Bretani, Megan Jarman, and Jordyn Rivera.
With two matches left in the regular season before the post season, Espinoza can't believe the season is almost over.
"I can't believe the season is almost over. It is going to be bittersweet especially since I gotten so close to the sophomores. They are just a great team," Espinoza said. "Our record should be better because there are games that we could have won. It is sad that it almost over."