So much for the belief that lightning doesn't strike the same place twice.

With the game tied at one goal apiece and only 4.9 seconds remaining, Desert Vista earned its second penalty kick in six minutes. Both plays that led to the foul in the goal box were similar as Kelly Watson penetrated deep before being blasted by a defender.

Sophomore forward Brooke Leftwich made up for Watson's miss on the first attempt by placing the ball in the bottom right of the goal, the same spot Watson had aimed for but Red Mountain goalie Jess Garner stopped.

Leftwich's clutch score gave the No. 12 Thunder a 2-1 win over No. 5 Red Mountain Wednesday night and the opportunity to continue their playoff run in Saturday's quarterfinals at No. 4 Pinnacle.

"I'm just still so nervous," Leftwich said. "I feel like I'm going to take (the kick) again. We're just going to take our excitement and try to win the whole thing."

After a lackluster first half filled with close misses and rough play from both teams, Desert Vista (19-3) came out of halftime and scored within the first minute of the second half. Rachel Ressler followed through on Watson's penetration into the box for the score.

From that point on, the Mountain Lions (16-2-3) spent most of their time defending the Thunder's pressure and keeping them out of the goal.

Patiently waiting for its chance, Red Mountain fed off the momentum of a series of missed opportunities by Desert Vista and quickly moved the ball to the left side of the field just outside of the box. Junior Sydney Schroeder scored the game-tying goal in the 70th minute off a pass to her spot in the middle of the field.

Desert Vista first-year coach Marvin Hypolite admired his team for sticking to the game plan and continuing to attack after Red Mountain's score.

"We didn't get caught up in that ‘We need to get a goal' (mentality)," Hypolite said. "The girls were able to keep their composure, keep the ball down (and) not give possession up. When we executed going forward, we did so well."

When it came to getting the chance to set up for another penalty kick just six minutes after the first, Hypolite admitted luck is always a factor.

"I told them if you work hard, luck will follow," Hypolite said.

Hypolite's just happy to be moving on.

"I want to keep coaching and they want to keep playing," Hypolite said. "I told them I want opportunities to coach and I said, ‘You've got to go out and execute.' (I've got) one under the belt and I'm ready for the next one."

Chris Cole is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He is a sophomore at Arizona State University.


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