In a tight contest between county rivals, regulation was not enough to declare a winner on Tuesday night.
In the end, it was South Carroll that scored in overtime to spoil Liberty’s senior night with a 4-3 road victory.
The decisive goal came as the clock wound under five minutes to go in the first overtime period. Following a free kick, South Carroll (2-1, 4-1) midfielder Lucy Cherry gathered the ball just outside the box. Cherry scolded a shot toward a group of Liberty (2-1-1, 6-3-1) players in front of the goal and the ball deflected by Lions’ goalkeeper Lauren Mondor.
“It was an amazing win for us,” South Carroll sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Turner said. “We were considered the underdogs. They didn’t think we would win. We managed to pull together as a team.”
South Carroll got on the board early with a well-timed run at the goal.
A pass out of the defensive zone hit midfielder Maddie Witter and the sophomore raced by Liberty defenders up the sideline to challenge Mondor. The senior goalie deflected the shot, but couldn’t control the rebound and Cavaliers junior Madelyn Boyce cleaned up the rebound to give South Carroll a 1-0 lead.
Witter was in the middle of the action minutes later when she put the Cavaliers up 2-0 on a breakaway goal with just under 30 minutes to go in the half.
“They’re a tough bunch,” South Carroll head coach Andrew Isacco said of his team following their dramatic victory. “They dug deep against an outstanding Liberty team that kept coming.”
Liberty showed its resilience and responded late in the first half with a pair of goals to knot the score at 2-2 heading into the break.
Junior midfielder Grace Young gave the Lions life with 11 minutes to go in the first half. Young won a scrap for the ball in front of the net and put the ball inside the post past Turner.
Four minutes later, Liberty tied the game when senior Kassie O’Hern scored on a header off an assist from fellow senior Grace Culver.
“We changed formations so that we could get some more scoring opportunities,” Liberty head coach Danielle Prietz said. “Our team always fights. We can always come from behind. That is one thing that is impressive with my team, they don’t ever let down.”
The tie game didn’t last long as the Cavaliers struck early in the second half. Just 15 seconds into the half, South Carroll pushed across a goal on a long shot by senior midfielder Allie Schult that took a bad bounce and got past Mondor into the goal.
“I think we worked really together,” Shult said. “We didn’t let [bad plays] get us down. I think we learned that from our last few games where we played really tough opponents. I think it showed today.”
South Carroll looked like it was primed to take an even bigger lead during the second half with multiple chances. Mondor held strong and gave her team a chance to rally with 11 saves in the contest.
Liberty senior Jordan Townsend sparked her team with a tying goal with under eight minutes to go in the game. Following the senior’s goal, the Lions went on the attack looking to put the game away.
Turner came up huge for the Cavaliers down the stretch, making several sprawling saves to keep South Carroll’s hopes alive. The sophomore’s biggest save came in overtime with six minutes to go.
Liberty sophomore Ashley Schwartz took a well-placed shot from the top of the box that looked to be headed inside the post. Turner reacted quickly, diving to her left and getting her fingertips on the ball to send it wide. It was the final stop of a 10-save performance for Turner and set up the dramatic finish two minutes later.
“Sometimes I forget how young she is,” Isacco said about Turner. “She’s just a sophomore, but she plays bigger than that. It’s nice to know you have somebody back there that can back your team up like that.”
South Carroll 4, Liberty 3 (OT)
Goals: SC — Madeline Boyce, Maddie Witter, Allie Schult, Lucy Cherry; L — Grace Young, Kassie O’Hern, Jordan Townsend.
Assists: SC — Allie Schult, Maddie Witter, Madeline Boyce; L — Grace Culver.
Saves: L — Lauren Mondor 11; SC — Brooke Turner 10.