Cherokee, Shawnee play to scoreless tie

Posted: September 20, 2012

It's the kind of initial reaction that doesn't usually lead to good things in double overtime of a scoreless soccer game:

"She came down the middle, and I just thought, 'Oh [no],' " Cherokee goalkeeper Courtney Simpson said, before adding, "but in the back of my mind, I knew it was possible to save it."

That was about a tenth of a second before Simpson was airborne, making a highlight-reel, diving save with 6 minutes, 58 seconds left in a 0-0 tie Wednesday afternoon at Shawnee.

The shot, taken by Shawnee's Erin Smith, a dangerous scorer, came on a one-on-one opportunity directly in front of the net. It was one of the few quality chances in a physical, evenly played match that seemed destined for overtime almost from the beginning.

"It's a fair result," Cherokee coach Andy Clapperton said. "Both teams played hard.

"We're just playing so hard every game. As long as we keep doing that, with the talent we have, we can play with anybody. It sounds like such a cliché, but we have great team chemistry."

For Cherokee (4-1-1), ranked No. 2 in South Jersey by The Inquirer, the game was another strong effort on the heels of a victory over area juggernaut Lenape, by a 1-0 score, on Sept. 12.

"We've had really great team chemistry this year," Cherokee senior defender Kristin Sullivan said. "I think our effort has been great in every game this year.

"And that's what helped us in the Lenape game. It's not that we were necessarily better - I think we just tried harder in that game."

That effort was just as apparent Wednesday, as the ball often lived in the midfield for extended periods with both teams fighting for and denying chances.

Cherokee held a slight advantage in the run of play for much of the second half, but the most dangerous chances in the game were produced by No. 4-ranked Shawnee (3-1-1) late in overtime.

"I thought we played hard, and played well," Shawnee coach Drew Wagner said. "I think we got better as the game went on. We have a lot of young girls playing, so it's nice to see us continually improving."

Cherokee   0 0 0 0 – 0

Shawnee   0 0 0 0 – 0

Saves: C-Courtney Simpson 6; S-Glade Nugent 3.

Contact Chris Melchiorre at

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