CORSICANA — The Gatesville Hornets were evenly matched with the Henderson Lady Lions every step of the way Monday night.
At the end of 80 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute halves of overtime, Gatesville (11-5-1) and No. 16 Henderson (22-6-2) remained tied at 1-1.
Then it all came down to muscle memory for the Hornets.
All the practice in penalty kicks paid off for Gatesville as Katrina Thoms, Molly Hogan, Bailee Armstrong and Natasha Thoms each sent a shot into the net.
With Stefany Ortiz in goal, Henderson’s first kick soared too high and the Hornets’ goalie stopped one of the other three kicks to help seal the win.
Gatesville controlled the ball for 64 minutes in regulation and Ortiz recorded a total of 17 stops on the night.
Despite the strong defense from the Hornets, Ella Wheat scored first for Henderson in the 26th minute.
Ortiz dove left but the ball soared by just out of reach.
Henderson came into the area matchup as the District 19-4A champion and hadn’t lost since January.
The Lady Lions ran away with a 7-0 victory against Hardin-Jefferson in a bi-district matchup Thursday to advance to face the Hornets.
Gatesville’s 4-0 win over Madisonville on Friday advanced them to the area game in Corsicana.
The Lady Lions held a 1-0 lead until halftime despite four shots on goal from Katrina Thoms, Natasha Thoms and Mikala Bryson.
Down but not out, Gatesville battled through the Lady Lions defense before Katrina Thoms worked her way up the middle and found Kamberly Vega open on the right wing.
Vega sent the ball over the head of Lady Lions goalie Emily Moon to tie the match in the 63rd minute.
It was a tight battle and the pressure started to get to Henderson as Kiana Warren got a yellow card after fouling Gateville’s Kaity Ferguson.
With time running out, Natalie Delarosa was the second Lady Lion to get a yellow card in the 78th minute as she bent over while guarding Natasha Thoms and forced the Hornets midfielder to flip over backward.
Natasha Thoms quickly recovered from the fall and the Hornets were able to force the game into overtime.
Gatesville advances to the regional quarterfinals later this week to face the winner of the China Spring (16-9-1) and Lumberton (20-3-2) matchup.