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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Female high school kicker Juliana Costantini boots 31-year winning field goal

Trailing 21-20 with 11 seconds left Friday night, West Macklenburg High found itself in a familiar situation — moments away from losing to West Charlotte yet again. West Mecklenburg has not won a game in the series since 1987, but Juliana Costantini refused to let her team suffer the same old outcome.

Costantini, the team’s kicker, nailed a 31-yard field goal to secure a 23-21 victory for West Meck. As the Charlotte Observer pointed out, it was the first field goal attempt of her high school career.

“This is my first game-winner actually ever,” Costantini said. “I never even attempted a field goal – it’s always been extra points. It was really dramatic.”

The kick came after West Meck drove the ball all the way to the five-yard line before a holding penalty pushed them back to make the kick a bit more challenging. Costantini had made two out of three extra points in the game, and West Meck coach Jeff Caldwell said she seemed so confident about the kick that he didn’t need any convincing.

“She said she could make it, and I didn’t look back,” he explained. “I’ve got to show faith in my kids. …We didn’t have to go ask her; we didn’t have to go looking for her.”

Female kickers in high school and college seem to be getting more and more common as the years pass. A female kicker recently came close to making the LSU football team and another young lady tried out for the Virginia Tech team last year. With people like Costantini contributing at the high school level, it’s only a matter of time before a female makes her way onto a college team’s game day roster.

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