Forest Hills junior defender Kayla Walls doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net.
When she got her chance on Saturday in the District 6 Class AA championship game, Walls made her shot count.
After watching Juniata erase a 1-goal deficit, the Lady Rangers tied the contest at 2 late in regulation and played the Lady Indians into a shootout.
The teams remained even after the first five shooters, and after the three girls in front of her missed in the second round, Walls gave her team a district crown.
Walls’ boot went into the lower 90 passed a sprawling Joelle Winey to keep Forest Hills’ season alive.
“It was unbelievable because it was my first PK in my entire life,” said Walls. “My team was behind me the whole way and I couldn’t have done it without them.
“I just went up there with all of my ability, didn’t think about it, and did what I know how to do. We didn’t want to lose a third time, so I guess third time’s a charm.”
The third time proved to be the charm for the Lady Rangers, who fell in each of the last two years to the Lady Indians in the championship tilt.
Forest Hills got on the board first on a goal by Briana Kostan, but Juniata responded with two goals just three minutes apart to take a temporary lead.
The Lady Rangers tied the contest to cap a frantic four-minute-plus stretch in the homestretch of regulation.
After the Lady Indians’ Carly Burns put her team ahead at the 73:37 mark, Forest Hills’ Casey Gallaher knotted the game just 78 seconds later.
“It was just a rollercoaster ride,” Forest Hills head coach Donna Gallaher said. “We haven’t really battled a team like that all season. We started getting too defensive with about 10 minutes left.
“The shootout is a lot of pressure. They handled the pressure and just kept on going. They kept coming back after they scored two on us, and that just shows the heart from the defense all the way up to the strikers.”
The Lady Rangers will play the District 7 runner-up Moon.
The first round of the PIAAs will be on Tuesday at a site and time to be determined.