The two teams had played to a 3-all tie in regulation play that stood up through the first overtime before the Lady Warriors claimed a 4-3 victory over the Lady Canes with 33 seconds left in their match.
“It was just a great game, but to be scored upon with 33 seconds left takes your breath away in a bad way,” head coach Roger Lowe said.
The Warriors improved to 15-3-1 with the victory while Cartersville closed the books on its season with a 10-7 record.
Lowe said it was a battle all evening. “Oconee is a good team and they played a really organized game. They have excellent strikers and midfielders.”
The Lady Warriors scored first.
“They scored about the 25th minute,” Lowe said. “About five minutes later Mia Robinson ripped a laser shot into the goal to tie the game. We got the ball back and scored with five minutes left in the half to make it 2-1. Mia got the ball on the outside and passed it to Anna, who found net.”
Oconee rushed back in those few minutes to score its second goal of the half, knotting the score at 2-all.
The home team then took the lead again, 3-2, at about the 50th minute.
“About 15 minutes later, Kaeli McDermott scored on a line drive from 12 yards out to beat the keeper,” Lowe said, once again tying the host team. “From there it was a defensive struggle up and down the field with bodies flying everywhere as everyone gave all they had.”
The tie held up the final 15 minutes of the game and through the first overtime.
In that first overtime, Cartersville fired on the goal three times and prevented Oconee from getting a shot off on Sydney James, the Lady Canes’ keeper.
Lowe said in the second overtime, the Lady Canes stayed on offense and almost took the lead with about a minute left when Stefanie Will went one-on-one with the keeper but the two collided.
“The ball bounced toward the goal but didn’t go in,” Lowe said.
The Lady Warriors wrested control of the ball and rocketed it across field where they found net with 33 seconds left.
Cartersville got one final shot on goal but didn’t find the net.
Lowe said he was impressed with the effort by his Lady Canes. “I’ve never had any team I’ve coached play harder or with more heart. I can’t say enough to praise them. Oconee knew it had been in a battle. I am just so proud of the way they played.”
He said Cartersville’s defensive play stood especially tall.
“Meredith Holmes, Stefanie Will and Kaeli McDermott controlled the middle and played great defense all evening,” he said. “Oconee didn’t score [four times] because of something we didn’t do but because they made some great plays.”
He said Robinson played a great game for Cartersville.
Lowe said James, Cartersville’s goalie, had to fight through an injury, after pulling a muscle in her thigh in the first half.
“Sydney could not push off her right leg and still made save after save after save,” he said. “It was a tough game to lose, but there are no regrets because everyone did everything they could to win.
“Still, I wish we had one more game. I’d go anywhere with this team and play anybody.”