Rapids Women victorious in first-ever NISL Shootout
By: Alex Husting
The Columbus Rapids were back inside the Columbus Civic Center tonight for the first of a doubleheader with the Memphis Americans. The Rapids met the Americans previously in the NISL season opener, with the men’s team losing 6-0 and the women’s team falling 10-2.
The Rapids were looking for revenge while the Americans looked to continue their winning ways after defeating the Rome Gladiators last week. The Rapids Men’s team (0-2) was the first on the pitch and looking to rebound following an 11-1 loss to the Fayetteville Fury.
The Rapids started the match well, holding Memphis (2-0) to just one goal through the first quarter, but a four-goal offensive explosion in the second quarter gave the Americans a 5-0 lead heading into halftime. Paulo Ndenzako scored the fifth goal of the half and his first of the season to give Memphis that lead.
The third quarter was similar to the first, with the Rapids holding the Americans to just two goals but failing to score any of their own, leading to a seven goal deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
The Americans added three more goals in the fourth quarter to defeat the Rapids Men’s team 10-0, their second shutout of the Rapids this season. Djorde Djordevic led the way for Memphis with four goals, setting a NISL record for goals in a single game.
The Americans Men’s team has now scored 22 goals while only allowing three so far this season and the Rapids’ have allowed 27 goals and scored just one.
The women’s match was up next after a brief intermission as the Rapids Women’s team looked to build on improvements from the previous week and get their first win of the season. The Rapids were on the board first with a goal from Martina Niekrasas about five minutes into the match. Memphis responded by taking advantage of the power play to tie it up 1-1.
Late in the second quarter, the Americans scored twice to take a 3-1 lead, and all of the momentum, into the locker room.
Captain of the Rapids Brittney Conway ended the Rapids’ scoring drought with an early third quarter goal to make it 3-2 in favor of Memphis. Later in the quarter, Casey Hall scored her first goal of the night to tie things up at 3-3.
Memphis snacthed the lead back midway through the fourth quarter on a free kick from Lauren Odino-Draughon. With 3:15 remaining in the match, Hall tied it up again from the left side, her third goal of the season.
The next three minutes were scoreless and the two teams headed to the first ever overtime in the history of the NISL. Defense was the story of the ten minute period, with neither team converting any opportunities, leading to a shootout.
Bria Rancho made a clutch save on the first free kick from the Americans. Casey Hall took the first of the three penalty kicks for the Rapids, knocking it through to give the Rapids the advantage to start the shootout and giving Hall a hat trick, the first of her career.
The Rapids would not score again but it did not matter because Bria Rancho shut out the Americans, giving Columbus their first win in franchise history.
Hall led the way with 3 of the Rapids’ five goals and Rancho’s clutch saves during the overtime period and shootout led Columbus to victory.
The match broadcast is available in its entirety here on the NISL Youtube Channel.
The Rapids and Americans will square off again tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. EST inside the Columbus Civic Center. Tickets are on sale here and the match will be streamed live on the NISL Youtube Channel.
ABOUT NATIONAL INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE (NISL):
The National Indoor Soccer League, which has its league office in Georgia, was founded in January 2021 by a group of experienced sports team/league owners with over 40 years of ownership experience. The NISL has plans to grow the league nationally within the next three years and will kick off its inaugural season in December 2021. The league will operate a Men's & Women's division with each market fielding both teams. Fans will be able to watch a men’s and women’s game each gameday. For more information, go to nislpro.com.