Green Mountain girls advance after penalty kick thriller

By Christian Avard
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Green Mountain Union High School Girls Varsity Soccer Team eliminated Lake Region on Thursday after a nail-biting penalty kick shootout, 2-1. GMUHS advances to the quarterfinals on Saturday where they will play fourth-seed Paine Mountain (Northfield and Williamstown High Schools) at 3 p.m. at Williamstown.

Kim Cummings and Chloe Ayer each scored with penalty kicks for the Chieftains, with Ayer firing a shot into the lower left corner for the game-winner. The two teams were evenly matched throughout the game. They were scoreless at the end of regulation and after two overtimes.

Then came the penalty kicks, the very nerve-wracking and excruciating penalty kicks. The Rangers scored on their first attempt to make it 1-0 while Green Mountain failed to score on their first three shots. And with Lake Region leading 1-0 penalty kick lead Chieftains’ goalie, Luna Burkhard Burkland rose to the occasion, stopping the Rangers’ last four penalty kicks.

Then Cummings scored the tie-breaker and then Ayer scored the game winner. The game was over.

The girls’ varsity team ran onto the field to celebrate. The Green Mountain Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team ran onto the field as well. It was a free-for-all.

“This was my first penalty kick shootout and it was the craziest experience of my life,” Ayer said with a laugh. “My heart was was beating really fast and I had no idea it was going to come down to me. I kicked it to the left bottom corner and it went it. That’s all I remember.”

Burkhard Burkland was the unsung hero of the game, stopping four straight penalty kicks on top of the 18 saves she made during the game. Lake Region took several shots outside the 18-yard box and Burkhard Burkland was there to stop them.

“That was my first penalty kick shootout ever,” Burkhard Burkland said. “A lot of shots (Lake Region took) were far enough out that I had time to react and move to the ball. One of the thing that really helps is the defense in front of me. They are amazing. They have my front, not my back.”

GMUHS Girls’ Varsity Soccer Coach Carolynn Hamilton was exhausted and relieved after the game. She was happy for her team and happy that they extended their season one more game.

“We left everything on the field and gave it everything we possibly had,” Hamilton said. “They kept fighting and fighting and fighting. We kept playing together and we squeaked one out. (Paine Mountain) will have to beat us at our best, especially with our eight seniors. We’ll go out with another fight and we’ll give Paine Mountain their best game.”

As for Cummings, their senior top-scorer, the playoffs look bright. She likes the Chieftains chances to go far.

“This is definitely, in the four years I’ve played here, this has the best team with the best chance to go the furthest,” Cummings said. “I hope we go as far as we can.”


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Filed Under: Latest NewsSoccerSports News

About the Author: Christian Avard has been a journalist for more than 15 years, having written for Vermont publications such as The Deerfield Valley News, The Rutland Herald, The Commons and The Chester Telegraph. He also edited The Message for the Week and The Vermont Standard. Avard, who currently lives in Lebanon, N.H., is also a sports correspondent with The Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus.

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  1. Emily Burkland says:

    Amazing game! These kids play with such heart it has been such a joy to watch this season!