POCATELLO — Karlin Wurlitzer stepped to the spot and put the Idaho State Bengals in the win column for the first time this year.
Wurlitzer's penalty kick, fired into the top corner in the ninth minute of overtime, gave ISU a 2-1 win over Saint Mary's on Friday at Davis Field.
"Ironically, we practiced penalties just yesterday," Wurlitzer said. "In the event of a PK, who would step up, and I felt like I could. I just wanted to reward all the hard work that everybody put in ... and thankfully, it went in."
It was first-year head coach Debs Brereton's first victory at Idaho State (1-5-1).
"I'm absolutely buzzing for the players," Brereton said. "I think this has been a long time coming. Obviously, the overtime wins are extra-special and the fact that it's our first win of the season is just a massive cherry on top."
The crucial penalty was given after a cross into the box took a tough bounce off the upper arm of a Saint Mary's defender.
After a long delay that included a spirited protest from Gaels coach Travis Clarke, Wurlitzer, a left-footed centerback, stepped up and rifled the ball high to goalkeeper Maleah Milner's right.
Milner guessed left — not that she would have had much of a chance anyway — and as the ball hit the back of the net, teammates mobbed Wurlitzer around the penalty spot.
"Typically, centerbacks aren't the ones that take penalties, but all of her teammates were telling her to take it, so she knew that she had the respect and the trust from her teammates," Brereton said. "Even though there was a little bit of time between when we were awarded the penalty and when she took it, there was no doubt in my mind that she was going to bury that."
Senior Michaela Didericksen opened the scoring in the 20th minute for ISU, taking a pass from Jazmin Lopez on the right side of the box and one-timing a shot past Milner into the far corner.
Idaho State had five shots to the Gaels' six in the first 45 minutes, and went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
"I felt as though we took the game to Saint Mary's," Brereton said. "We organized ourselves really well out of possession, we were comfortable and confident on the ball in possession. We created some really good chances, and it was an absolute cracker of a shot from Michaela Didericksen to take us into the lead at halftime."
It didn't last long after the break. The Bengals had a good chance in the very opening minutes of the second half, but in the 51st minute, a corner kick made it all the way through to Jaylen Crim, who potted her fourth goal of the season for Saint Mary's.
The second half was more open than the first, with Saint Mary's taking 13 shots to ISU's eight.
The Gaels had the better chances down the stretch, but ISU's defense and a career-high nine saves by goalkeeper Katie Hogarth kept them out and sent the game to overtime, where the crucial handball gave Wurlitzer a chance to walk it off.
"There was never a shadow of doubt in my mind that they were going to win this game," Brereton said. "They just kept getting better and better every minute, and the trust and respect that they have for each other, and the players on the bench, they were giving it all they had. So I think it was a collective team effort today."
Idaho State plays Cal Poly in Missoula, Montana, on Sunday.