Pride was the rainbow that followed the tears at Panthers Stadium Saturday night.
Lakeside, playing in the Georgia High School Class AAAA state soccer final for the first time in school history, lost, 3-2, to Marist before an estimated 1,500 fans.
"That was the best we could play," said Lakeside senior Jamie Lake, who put the Panthers up 1-0 on a rebound score. "It was 3-2. We just needed one more break to go our way."
It's uplifting watching how the right attitude in a group of young people can move mountains or a mountain of a team in Marist.
"We have no regrets," Lakeside senior keeper Carty Dunn said.
That was evident when several of the Panthers' seniors gathered at midfield after the toughest loss in any season. Rebecca Bohler, who's off to Samford University on a soccer scholarship, charged toward the last Lakeside senior meeting at midfield.
"Woo-hoo," Bohler said. "We made it all the way to the state finals in our senior year. We rock."
She tied the score at 2-2 on an arcing free kick from 40 yards out that escaped the oustretched arms of War Eagles keeper Kelly Connarro.
Lakeside coach Donny Rogers said it was the fifth time this year she scored on that type of shot.
"The great thing about that shot this season is it always comes the times we really need it," Bohler said.
"The times we don't need it the ball files over the goal or goes to the keeper. It flies in when we really need it."
Marist went up 2-1 on a seemingly similar gift from the heavens. Sophomore Kat Morrell's corner kick from the home sideline came down in Dunn's arms. But Dunn came down past the goal line with 20:09 to play in the first half.
"That's not luck," Marist coach Sergio Stadler said.
"That's practice. That's the third goal on a play like that we've scored this year."
Dunn made eight saves in the game, several of those with her team in dire straits. But the eye- black she wore wouldn't have been wet with tears if she'd made that her ninth save.
"That's the one I will look back on," Dunn said. "I don't really know what happened. There was one of their girls right on my back. It was tough. I really don't feel like talking about it."
Rogers made his point very clear when asked of his thoughts on the tough-luck goal.
"If Carty Dunn is not on our team we don't even make it past the first or second round," Rogers said.
"She came up so big for us in game after game this year."
Marist senior Maggie Horne, a Wake Forest signee, clinched her third state title in four seasons with an effort score with 27:58 to go in the game.
"It was great work up top by our forwards," Horne said, who scored a goal in every playoff game. "They found my feet and I cut past one girl and slid it in there."
Marist (14-3-6) allowed a playoff-high two goals to the Panthers. The War Eagles responded fast after Lake's goal left them down 1-0.
It was, 1-1, 21 seconds later.
"We all got so mad after that," Horne said. "We brought that ball back up so fast I don't think Lakeside even touched it. We didn't take time to feel bad. We wanted right back into this game."
Lakeside finished the greatest run in the school's playoff history at 16-5-2 .
Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or email@example.com.
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