All game Liberty had chances to put away a tired North Carroll team -- it simply couldn't do it.
North Carroll's Julie Baker scored the tying goal with 4:35 remaining in regulation and then added the game-winner on a penalty kick in overtime as the visiting Panthers (5-4 overall, 3-1 in the county) came away with a 2-1 win last night.
The penalty kick came in the second overtime session when North Carroll's Carrie Hale was dragged down from behind just inside the penalty area along the left side. Baker made no mistake on the penalty kick, beating Liberty goalie Angi Primavera low to the left side.
"We just never quit for a second," said North Carroll coach Phil Myers.
"We've been having problems scoring all season but once we do score, it seems to spark us," Myers said. "Both teams did a great job tonight."
Baker's first goal came after the Lions (5-4, 2-3) had been dominating the game, but could only muster a 1-0 lead on Robin Leeds' goal three minutes into the second half.
Leeds got behind the North Carroll defense and beat Panthers goalie Teresa Mays to the ball and headed it home before the two collided in front.
With only five substitutes and coming off a tough 1-0 loss to Thomas Johnson the night before, North Carroll appeared to be tiring late in the game before Baker capitalized on a loose ball in front that she headed home.
It was the only serious pressure the Panthers put on the Liberty defense to that point in the second half. Myers credited the Panthers' defense and Mays for keeping the team within striking distance. Mays finished the game with 15 saves.
"We've played good defense all year," Myers said. "[Liberty] has a lot of speed and skill up front and they were working the ball well in the middle, but we stepped up well and when we didn't Teresa stepped up to make the save."
The Lions had chance after chance in the opening half -- particularly in the latter part -- but failed to get anything past Mays. Liberty put 14 shots on goal in the half, taking advantage of its speed up front against a slower Panthers defense, but Mays came up with nine saves.
Natalie Hannibal slipped behind the defense on a number of occasions but couldn't put any shots on net.