Lakeside’s Devin Haygood didn’t see Cassandra Wade so much as she heard her.
With Wade calling for the ball and time running out, Haygood fed her perfectly from the center of the field to the right side. Wade beat her defender and fired the ball into the left corner of the net from 12 yards out with 2:25 to play, giving the Lady Panthers a 3-2 win over Effingham County in the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state soccer tournament.
“I saw that (Haygood) had a man on her, and I had a wide-open through ball, so I called for it hoping we would get a goal, but we got lucky with it,” Wade said.
Haygood scored the Lady Panthers’ first two goals, assisted by Kallie Beckham and Colby Canada.
After Haygood scored the first goal four minutes in on a corner kick from Beckham,
No. 4 seed Effingham County (8-10), proved it could compete with the top-seeded Lady Panthers (13-2-1). The Lady Rebels’ Sara Flagg scored the first of two goals with 23:45 left in the first half to tie the game at 1.
“I think they realize now they have to work hard every minute of the game, before the game and get ready to play,” Lady Panthers coach Nick Edmond said. “We didn’t really come out very strong and after we got that early goal we kind of came flat for a while after that.”
Lakeside missed three one-on-one opportunities in the first half. Despite a stronger second half by the Lady Panthers, Flagg gave the Lady Rebels a 2-1 lead with just more than 19 minutes to play.
With time getting short, the Lady Panthers got a corner kick. After a scrum in the middle of the field, the ball was sent back to the corner, where Canada played it back in and Haygood found the back of the net once more, tying the game with 7:21 to go.
“The girls keep battling when things aren’t going our way,” Edmond said. “They do work hard, they do fight back even when they’re not playing well … I think they got a little scared thinking our season could be over in 10 minutes.”
The Lady Panthers play host to Northgate, a 5-2 winner over Lee County, on May 7.