It wasn’t easy, nor quick, but after over 90 minutes of play Friday, the Long County girls soccer team beat Screven County 3-1 in an overtime, penalty-kick shootout to advance into the second round of the state playoffs.
Playing in Ludowici, the Lady Tide and Lady Gamecocks were scoreless after two halves of regulation play. The teams then played two five minute overtime periods, but still no one could score. Finally the referees gathered up the coaches for a five-person alternating shootout.
In the shootout. Screven County got the first shot, but Lady Tide goalie Ellexus Wrighton snagged the ball before it went into the net. Harley Dawson then went to the field for Long County and punched her shot in to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Screven’s next player, kicked her ball hard into the goal, tying the game.
The Lady Tide’s Carolin Krause’s kick also paid off, sending the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead. The Lady Gamecocks’ third shooter sent her ball over the net. The crowd was on their feet when Long County’s third kicker, Megan Higgason, sailed the ball into the net for a 3-1 Lady Tide lead.
Screven’s fourth kicker apparently felt the make-or-break pressure, nailing a solid kick, but sending it over the goal, giving Long County the 3-1 win.
After the game, Lady Tide coach Sabrina Caines was all smiles.
“Oh my gosh, they were amazing,” Caines said. “They fought so hard all night, they really wanted this game and they continued to fight until they got it.”
She also praised Screven County, saying that they were a worthy opponent.
With the loss, the Lady Gamecocks finish the season with 12-5 record. The Lady Tide improved to 13-3 and move into the second round of the AA
Georgia High School Association playoffs.
Wednesday, Long County play powerhouse Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross. The Lady Spartans bring a 12-4-1 record and, according to MaxPreps.com, are the No. 1 AA team in the state. They are ranked No. 25 in the nation. They also are ranked No. 1 in the state by Eurosportscoreboard.com.
In the most recent state rankings, the Lady Tide sits No. 8 in the state by both organizations.