For the second time this postseason, the No. 24 Fort Hays State University women’s soccer team advanced on penalty kicks.
The Tigers advanced to the MIAA Tournament semifinals in the program’s first experience with penalty kicks.
Craig Shaw’s crew moved to 2-0 in penalty kick situations Sunday and advanced past host Minnesota State-Mankato to the NCAA Central Region championship.
Silvana Romero, who played a big role in getting the Tigers to extra time, was the first shooter and failed to convert. The Mavericks’ first taker beat Tiger sophomore Abbie Flax to put the home team in control, but only briefly.
Senior midfielder Dani Harris converted for the Tigers before Flax made a save to tie it through two rounds.
Both senior midfielder Hannah Smith and MSU’s Morgan Cottew converted in the third round.
Freshman Darby Hirsch made the third consecutive Tiger attempt before Flax made her second save of the period.
Just like earlier in the month, Tiger junior Thayla Dwyer converted the final try to see the Tigers through to the regional championship.
Flax not only came up big in the shootout, she made a pair of key saves in the first half to help the Tigers keep the Mavericks off the board in the first 45 minutes.
MSU broke through in the 65th minute, but the lead was short lived.
Tiger defender Regan Lawler had a go from well outside the box and saw her attempt beat the Maverick goalkeeper for an equalizer just over a minute later.
Five minutes later, Romero scored off an assist from Harris to put the Tigers ahead with just under 20 minutes to play.
The Mavericks forced extra time on Dana Savino’s goal in the 78th minute.
MSU also owned the only three shots of the first period of extra time, but none required a save from Flax.
Flax faced two more shots in the final 10 minutes of play, but neither were on frame. The Mavericks owned a 20-17 advantage in shots and put seven of those shots on goal compared to six from the Tigers.
Flax finished the game with four saves in the run of play.
The Tigers will face a familiar opponent in the regional championship. MIAA champion Central Missouri used a 2-1 win over Central Oklahoma, another league foe, on Sunday.
The Tigers and third-ranked Jennies will meet Friday on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.
The Jennies beat FHSU 1-0 in their only prior meeting this season.