It took extra time to do it, but the Cartersville girls soccer team is one win away from clinching the Region 7-AAAA title.
Marissa Mowry’s goal in the first minute of extra time gave the Lady Canes a 2-1 victory at Northwest Whitfield Friday night.
Cartersville is now 10-1 overall and 6-0 in region play. If the Lady Canes defeat Heritage, Catoosa Tuesday they will clinch the region championship.
“That’s a huge win. Northwest was still in play as far as the region goes. Before tonight, there were still four teams that could win the region. We just took one step,” Cartersville head coach Chad Murray said of the win. “Obviously, that’s the goal each and every year for us, to take the region. We took a big step tonight. We really did it against a really good team.”
After Courtney Rhea scored Cartersville’s first goal to give the Lady Canes a 1-0 halftime lead, Northwest Whitfield scored quickly in the second half to even the score. Neither team was able to put one in the back of the net until Mowry scored just after regulation.
“When we got the ball in the middle, their defensive line was playing five and six back, but their defensive line kind of sunk back and kind of left the middle open,” Murray said of Mowry’s goal. “She just dribbled in to probably about the 20-, 25-yard line and she put her foot on it and bent it in.”
Murray was pleased with the win, not only because of the way it ended and the playoff implications, but also because Cartersville was able to overcome a slow start.
“We had played three or four weaker teams in a row. So I was worried we’d come out flat a little bit, and we did. We had some bus issues today, so we got to the venue late. We literally stepped off the bus and had to play,” Murray said. “We struggled a little bit in the first half with our touch. I don’t particularly know why. The field is a football field, so it’s really domes and it’s very, very narrow. So it kind of takes away our game a little bit. We like to work up the sides and cross it in, and you can’t do that on a domed football field. It just rolls out of bounds. So I think the field had a lot to do with it.”
Murray said the play of Cartersville’s goalkeeper helped the team pull off the win.
“Abby Robinson had a great game in goal again. She stopped just about everything that came her way,” Murray said after the game. “Chloe Davis didn’t score but, golly, she worked her tail off. Her and Madison Putzer, those two girls were like energizer bunnies tonight. They were all over the place pressuring. They gave us great effort tonight.”
After the last region game of the season Tuesday, Cartersville will play four more road games against tough competition as part of its eight-game road stand. The Lady Canes will then wrap up the regular season with two home games against upper-classification schools.
“Six-0, 10-1, we are very happy with that,” Murray said of where his team currently stands. “The back end of our schedule is stacked. When we get through region, we play Marietta, Villa Rica, Carrollton, North Paulding, Northgate. They’re all really, really strong teams just to get us ready for the playoffs. There are no more easy games left.”