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Latin breaks Parker hex with furious comeback

05/17/2014, 6:15pm CDT
By Hunter Tickel

Latin earned its first regional title in six years and broke Parker's string of five straight regional title wins over the Romans by defeating the Colonels 4-3 in a shootout.

The scoreline 3-0 has been very familiar for Parker and Latin.

Four of the past five regional title matchups between the pair of schools have ended with that score with Parker coming out on top each time.

On Saturday, when Parker went up 3-0 in the 58th minute the game looked destined for more deja vu. Latin sophomore Natalie Pontikes had another idea forcing overtime in the final minute at 3-3.

Her equalizer, set up by a centering pass from junior Eve Favia, helped the Romans complete the comeback and secured her first career hat trick.

"I don't remember, it almost felt like it wasn't really happening," Pontikes said. "I got really lucky, my team just got it to me in the right place."

In the shootout, Pontikes hit the bar in the third round, but was bailed out when sophomore goalkeeper Catie Cronister blocked a shot and another shot hit the post in the final round for a 4-3 win. 

Pontikes' initial putback goal came off of defender Eden Pritikin's shot from 35 yards that hit the crossbar in the 59th minute.

"I didn't like the way we came out in the second half," Parker coach Neil Curran said. "We came out a little too confident in the second half. I think that myself and the girls as well, figured we would score another one and maybe another one."

Pontikes scored again in the 70th minute with a volley at the near post off a cross from defender Chloe Stiffle on the right side to make it 3-2.

"When they scored their first one I wasn't really that concerned," Curran said. "When they got that second one that is where I got really concerned."  

Latin (13-2-4) took home its first hardware in six years. 

Parker had chances to knock out Latin for the sixth straight year, but hit the post two times. 

Cronister was forced to make six saves in the first half.

Parker midfielder Olivia Amdur unleashed a bomb that roofed the net on a direct free kick from 40 yards in the 32nd minute.

Six minutes later, Parker (14-3-1) went up 2-0 when midfielder Lily Schaer crossed to midfielder Emily Saturno, who calmly settled in the box and slotted it to the near post. 

In the 58th minute, Amdur's free kick from 27 yards forced a rebound that senior Mimi Vaintrub finished with a bicycle kick. 

"One of the fun things about Parker and Latin games is they are just different," Latin coach Tom Bower said. "It's like Harvard vs. Yale or any big rivalry. Even if one team has had a better season and you get together and it is kind of wild.

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