ANDOVER — Izzy Shih took a long breath, wiped the last bead of sweat — or was it rain? — from her eyes and confidently swung her right leg forward.
She then watched as her penalty kick sailed over the goalie’s head and into the back of the net.
Immediately, she pointed one triumphant finger in the air and turned back to her overjoyed teammates before breaking into a head-first slide across the wet Lovely Field turf.
After saving the previous penalty kick to force a make-it-and-win scenario, it was only appropriate that Shih — Andover’s goalie — finished the job.
The senior’s deciding strike clinched a 3-1 penalty kick win for the No. 4 seed Warriors, who fought through the rain Thursday night to earn a, technically, 2-1 win over Lexington in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.
“I was a little nervous,” smiled Shih, who has taken four career PKs. “But it’s natural to feel nervous in that sort of position.”
The win sends Andover (13-3-3) to the North semis at Lowell’s Cawley Stadium on Monday (noon).
And that’s a big deal.
Each of the past three years, the Warriors have lost in the North quarterfinals. Understandably, coach Meghan Matson was relieved to snap the “curse.”
“It’s been awhile since we’ve gone this far,” said Matson. “Actually, it’s been a long time. So to go another round, we have to take it one day at a time. But to go another round is awesome.”
So that begs the question, what makes this year’s team different?
“They never give up,” said Matson. “That’s the thing, they just never give up. And that’s why we won the league, and that’s why we won our game today.”
That was evident Thursday night.
Lexington (12-5-3) scored not three minutes into the game. But Andover’s Monique O’Toole tied things up at 1-1 when she buried a feed from Ava Trapp before the clock had dipped under 30 minutes.
Then, in PKs, the Warriors — who shot first — trailed 1-0 after the first round.
But two straight misses from the Minutemen and a Shih save, along with goals from Olivia Schwinn-Clanton and Ashley Kendrigan, set the Warriors up for victory.
“I’m so proud of them for sticking with it,” said Matson. “It’s kind of been our thing all season, being down and coming back.”
The rain continued to fall even harder after the game, but the Warriors weren’t hustling to get off the field.
Warm, dry clothes waited in the locker room, but that didn’t matter. Nothing was going to stop the Warriors from enjoying the moment.
“I mean, it’s our enthusiasm that pushes us through,” said Shih. “You can see that every minute of the game, we never stop pushing. We always want to win, and we always want to fight for the ball.”
Andover 2, Lexington 1
Division 1 North Quarterfinals
Goals: A — Monique O’Toole; L — Izzy Konijnenberg
PK Goals: A — Olivia Schwinn-Clanton, Ashley Kendrigan, Izzy Shih; L — Jen Fiore
Saves: A — Shih 5; L — Elizza Stokes 7
Lexington (12-5-3): 1 0 0 — 1
Andover (13-3-3): 1 0 1 — 2