At times when the Cook Inlet Conference girls championship soccer game stretched to penalty kicks Saturday, Dimond High goalkeeper Katelyn Sweeney stood on her line and stretched her arms horizontally, trying to make herself look big and imposing.
Other times, she crouched lower than a catcher, as if trying to find a better sight line to the eyes of a South High shooter and read her opponent's intentions.
And she even talked a bit, chirping in the hope a shooter would reveal something before striking the ball.
"You pretty much have to act like the dumbest goalkeeper in the world -- 'Look at me, look at me,' " Sweeney said. "And if you get a reaction, that's what you're going for."
All Sweeney sought with her antics was one save of a penalty kick, which she attained. That denial, coupled with a South missed penalty kick, and Dimond's four successful shots on five penalty kicks, earned Dimond a 1-0 victory at Eagle River High.
The Lynx prevailed 4-3 in five rounds of penalty kicks.
Both Dimond and South already had qualified for the state tournament with semifinal victories Friday. They will be joined at state by Service, which won Saturday's third-place game, 1-0, in regulation over Eagle River.
On a gray, windswept late afternoon that made spring feel suspiciously like fall, Dimond sealed the victory when Bobbye Pendleton scored in the fifth round of the shootout to stymie South. Pendleton said she figured South keeper Sarah Johnson would dive to Pendleton's left, so she fired into the right side of the net to end the match.
"For some people, penalty kicks are nerve-wracking," Pendleton said. "But for me, I like people watching me, so I like it."
Penalty kicks were required to decide the title after the teams played 80 scoreless minutes of regulation, 20 scoreless minutes of overtime played in two 10-minute sessions and 10 scoreless minutes of sudden-death overtime played in two five-minute sessions.
For the penalty kicks, in which teams alternate shots -- South won the coin toss and elected to shoot first -- the five shooters for each team lined up side-by-side on the 45-yard line, arms interlocked around shoulders. Behind each group of shooters stood the rest of their teammates, positioned on the 50, arms likewise around shoulders.
South's Morgan Hooe made the first attempt, but her drive ticked off the crossbar and over it. Then Dimond's Haley Martin and Aaliyah Lewis sandwiched goals around one from South's Georgianna Hoss to give Dimond a 2-1 edge through two rounds.
When South's third shooter, Keely Jelinek prepared to take her attempt from the spot, Sweeney said she noticed Jelinek eye-balling the left side of the net, to Sweeney's right. Sweeney figured that was subterfuge, so she correctly dove to her left to rebuff the shot.
Dimond's Alexis Rogers scored, and South's Ashtyn Evans and Katelynn Zanders sandwiched goals around a shot from Dimond's Johanna Jeffryes that went wide left by inches.
That made it 3-3 with Pendleton the last of the combined five shooters. If she failed, the shootout would be extended another round. If she scored, Dimond owned the crown.
Thus ended a match in which neither team could string together any consistent, threatening attack. Each team made forays forward, but seldom could crack the last line of defense. Time and again, defenders either beat attackers to the ball or forced them into weak shots.
"Both defensive sides did amazing,'' Pendleton said.
The second of the 10-minute overtimes featured a close call for each team.
Dimond's Ariela Lewis rapped a shot squarely off the crossbar. Moments later, South's Kylie Street rocketed a long curling shot that just missed the frame wide left.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.