As time ticked away in overtime Thursday night, Peninsula High School girls soccer coach Jenny Nichols turned to her bench and started to think about who she wanted to take penalty kicks in a shootout.
She didn't have to make a decision.
Instead, sophomore Jolene Kvinsland wound up from 18 yards out and smacked a bullet into the net with a minute remaining in the second five-minute extra period to lift the Seahawks past the Lakes Lancers 2-1 in a Class 3A South Puget Sound League match at Roy Anderson Field.
The golden goal capped what had been a frustrating night for Peninsula (6-1-1 overall, 2-0-0 league), which remained in a first-place tie with Auburn Mountainview with six points.
"I just tried to hit it as hard as I could," said Kvinsland, whose game-winner came from the right side of the field just outside the goal box.
Junior Amber Burbridge set up the shot with a pass from deep in the corner, and senior Madeleine Misterek stepped to the side to open up the lane. Kvinsland's line-drive shot buckled the Lakes keeper, who wasn't able to get a hand on it to force a shootout.
"It's team heart," Nichols said. "They don't like to give up. We had some tight games in the preseason that we could have given up on, but the tide keeps turning our way."
Peninsula beat Lakes 3-0 in a non-league game on Sept. 24, but both teams were missing players. And Nichols said the Lancers (2-6-0, 0-2-0) put an extra player in the midfield Thursday night, a different formation than they used last month.
Lakes took advantage and surprised Peninsula with a goal in the 11th minute, a shot that came from the top of the box and just got over Seahawks senior keeper Katie Campbell.
"I think they caught us off-guard because they crowded us in the midfield early," Nichols said. "Our midfielders weren't prepared for that. In the second half, the adjustments we made were the right adjustments. We just couldn't find the finish to put it away."
Peninsula moved Beth Reese from defender to midfield after halftime and went with a three-back defensive formation. It immediately paid dividends on the opposite side of the field as the Seahawks started to get scoring opportunities.
Alayna Piwonski's pop-up shot past the oncoming keeper went just wide in the opening minute of the half, and Lauren Mercuri's cross to Burbridge five minutes later was saved despite a nice one-touch effort. In the 55th minute, Peninsula had an open opportunity when Mercuri's cross went to Rees, whose header was saved, then deflected out of trouble.
The Seahawks finally broke through in the 60th minute, when Mercuri sped up to a through ball down the left sideline, outraced two defenders and calmly used her left foot to slide it past the diving keeper to the far post.
"I was getting a little frustrated," said Meurcuri, the teams leading scorer. "I definitely don't like losing. We just had to keep going, keep pushing.
"I just stayed high (on the field) and waited for the right ball."
It was the moment Peninsula needed, and it pumped a shot of adrenaline into Seahawks, who dominated the rest of regulation. A corner-kick opportunity nearly gave way to the go-ahead score 67th minute, but Murcuri's header, a second chance from inside the box, was saved on a dive.
Misterek dropped a long ball into the box with 10 minutes to play, but Mercuri's one-touch went wide. Mercuri went free again in the 72nd minute and pounded a shot on frame past a sliding keeper, but it struck the middle of the crossbar.
Moments later, Misterek took advantage of a bobbled save and launched a close-range shot. It, too, sailed high.
Peninsula controlled possession in both overtime periods but didn't have a great scoring chance until Kvinsland came open on the wing.
If she had missed, the game likely would have been decided by penalty kicks.
"It was a nice relief," Nichols said. "PKs are torture."