With the tension building as time kept counting down, the girls Region 2-AAAAA soccer title was determined when time wasn’t a factor.
After Greenbrier and Lakeside finished 80 minutes of regulation and two five-minute overtime periods tied at 1, the squads went to penalty kicks. When the Lady Wolfpack’s final shooter Emily Ludwig’s ball hit the crossbar and bounced out, the Lady Panthers sprinted across the field to mob goalkeeper Rachel Hardin.
During penalty kicks, Lakeside’s Mariana Gonzalez and Cassandra Wade scored and Greenbrier could muster only a Alisa Williams tally as the Lady Panthers dethroned the reigning region champions.
“It’s a great feeling, I’m just proud of the girls,” Lakeside head coach Nick Edmond said. “I feel bad for Greenbrier, PKs go either way. They have a great team, they’re going to do well in state as well. Our girls have been talking about this from Day1.”
With the win, the Lady Panthers (12-2, 8-1) are a No. 1 seed in the GHSA Class AAAAA state tournament and will play host to the No. 4 seed from Region 3 on Tuesday. As a No. 2 seed, the Lady Wolfpack (9-5-2, 7-2) will play host to Region 3’s No. 3 seed.
While the game was played mostly in the Lakeside end, the Lady Panthers struck first with 36 seconds left in the first half when Wade got the ball from just behind midfield, dribbled to just outside the Lady Wolfpack goal box and centered the ball for Devin Haygood, who hammered it past goalie Madison Campbell.
The Lady Wolfpack scored the tying goal with 28:10 left in the game when Ludwig got her penalty kick into the upper left hand side of the goal off the hands of a diving Hardin.
“The shootout is a hard way to go and they’ve got their heads down,” Lady Wolfpack head coach Wes Kendrick said. “The biggest thing is they went out there and gave 100 percent and to lose that way is tough.”
Third place in the boys Region 2-AAAAA Tournament was decided when Evans’ Justin Dowdle headed the ball in with 28:44 left, beating Greenbrier (10-4-3, 6-3 region) 1-0.
The Knights (11-5, 6-3) travel to Richmond Hill on May 1 in the opening round of the Class AAAAA Tournament while the Wolfpack travel to Glynn Academy.