LITHIA — Kendall Graham was cold.
After spending 100 rather lonely minutes without much action in front of the Newsome goal Thursday, Graham was feeling the effects of the chilly weather conditions.
"My toes were freezing," the Newsome keeper said. "I just wanted to get it over with and go home."
Graham did just that and made sure to send the Newsome faithful home happy as she stopped four of the five penalty kicks she faced, leading the Wolves to a win (2-1 in PKs) against Freedom in the 5A-8 district semifinals.
"My goalkeeper coach always tells me to sway back and forth to psyche out their shooters," Graham said. "Then I just focus in on their form. I never guess."
Liz Haumschild connected to the right corner of goal to give the Wolves a 2-1 lead in PKs as Freedom's final player stepped up to the spot. But Graham dove right, smothering the shot and setting off a wild celebration.
Newsome (20-3-1) had myriad chances in the final five minutes of regulation and into overtime. Ana Cate hit the post twice and Lindsay Lesavage couldn't put either rebound home.
"It was getting a little frustrating, definitely," Graham said.
The Wolves will face Bloomingdale, a 1-0 winner against Wharton, for the title at 7 tonight at Newsome. This is the fourth straight year Bloomingdale and Newsome will meet in the district final. The Wolves won the championship in 2007, sandwiched between a pair of Bulls titles.
Kara Buono, who scored the winner during injury time when Bloomingdale (13-2-2) beat Newsome 2-1 earlier this season, notched the only goal the Bulls would need against Wharton in the 13th minute. The junior midfielder corralled a ball in the penalty box, turned a defender off her hip and went far post past helpless goalkeeper Rachel Beninati.
Seffner Christian's season ended in a 2-0 district semifinal loss to Lakeland Christian.
The Crusaders played competitively, but fell behind on a penalty kick goal to seal their third loss this season to Lakeland Christian.
"Our girls played with a lot of heart," Seffner coach Frank Lopez said. "It was a loss, but for us it was a moral victory."
Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer