Brookwood (16-5) began the game as the aggressor and came close to scoring when a headed shot bounced off of the right post just 6 minutes in.
But from the 18th minute on, Harrison (19-1) began applying more offensive pressure, as well as a general increase in intensity after forward Savannah Vanderbeck was assessed a yellow card.
Harrison earned five corner kicks in the first half and picked up where it left off in the second half, pouring forward and creating multiple opportunities in Brookwood’s 18-yard box.
After 80 minutes of scoreless regulation, Harrison continued to apply pressure in the 10 minutes of extra time, coming agonizingly close to taking the lead when a Brookwood defender sent a clearing effort ringing off of the goalpost after a Harrison corner. Treva Aycock had a golden opportunity with an open look from 12 yards out, but pushed the shot high over the bar in the first period of extra time.
Despite the missed chances, Aycock was able to get another shot later on.
In the penalty kicks, Monica Herrera, Vanderbeck and Lizzie Sieracki all converted their chances, and goalkeeper Kelsey Daugherty — a penalty kick specialist in for starter Allison Leone — made consecutive saves to set up a game-winning opportunity for Aycock. Aycock buried her shot in the left corner, sending the Lady Hoyas back to the state championship game for the first time since they won the title in 2011.
“I was definitely shaking, but I had my team behind me, so I knew I could do it.” Aycock said of the moment she approached her kick. “I knew where I was going to shoot. Our coach has us work on penalty kicks a lot, so we were really confident.”
Harrison coach Steve Riccard shared his player’s sentiment about penalty shootouts.
“It seems like, every year, it comes down to penalties,” Riccard said. “I wasn’t really nervous. We’re confident about PKs. As you can see, our goalkeeper is pretty good, and we’re pretty good at making them, too. If it has to go to PKs, that’s just the way it is.”
As for qualifying for the championship game, Riccard said “it’s always the goal to get this far, but you never know what to expect.”
Harrison advanced to face Parkview in the championship game, though it doesn’t yet know when — or where — it will come.
The Georgia High School Association will complete the championship game schedules Thursday. Games will take place Friday and Saturday at two locations — the University of West Georgia in Carrollton and Kennesaw State’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium.