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The Lady Bruins soccer team capped its region schedule in spectacular manner with a 2-1 comeback victory over Rock Hill at the Rock Hill Stadium on Friday night.
LHS earned a Class AAAA Upper State bid with the win.
The Bruins were very aggressive offensively and took the match to the Rock Hill defense throughout the first half, but were unable to score. Frances Whitesides and Sedona Smith worked some great combinations throughout the half only to be denied by the RH defense.
Ashley Cauthen was very instrumental in center play of the field by dominating with creativity and force. The Lady Bruins, with the support of Flo Tarque and Sarah DeVenny, connected to create scoring opportunities throughout the match. Rock Hill scored its goal at the 24-minute mark of the second half on a long shot from 25 yards out that LHS keeper Tarah Tipton was unable to reach.
The Bruins came back on a great goal by Lauren White from 28 yards out, tying the match in the 32-minute. The Bruins pushed hard for the win in regulation, attacking the Rock Hill goalie with eight shots in the final three minutes, but the score remained 1-1.
In overtime coach Bo Sylvia’s girls attacked with great enthusiasm and passion, but were denied the winning goal by a stacked defense.
In goal for the Bruins were Effie Spears in the first half and Tipton in the second half, as both girls played very well in directing the defense and making impressive saves.
The defense, led by Morgan Gardner, Lauren White, Mary Beth White and Sarah DeVenny, worked well to initiate attacks and keep RH away from the goal.
“We deserved to win this match due to the minutes we had ball control in the RH zone,” Sylvia said. “The girls were getting a bit frustrated by not seeing their shots go in, but to their credit they kept pushing hard for the winning goal in all 100 minutes of play. I was impressed with the constant communicating that was taking place by our girls, the pace of play, the aggressive spirit that we have had from day one, and the unfailing desire to attack throughout the match.”
When it came down to the penalty kicks, LHS placed Spears in goal due to her quickness.
“We were comfortable with either keeper in goal, but went with Effie due to her speed in her first three steps. We work on penalty kicks almost every practice and also defending those kicks with our keepers and tonight all of the work paid off,” Sylvia said.
Effie stopped one penalty kick and forced RH to miss on two others. The LHS girls made four of the kicks – Reagan Latham, Sedona Smith, Morgan Farrar and Frances Whitesides all cooly placed their shots in the right locations.
“We had lost seven matches this season going into tonight’s match and six of those losses were to teams ranked in the Class AAAA top 10 rankings,” Sylvia said. “We played those teams very well and were unlucky to lose by a goal in almost all of the matches. We felt comfortable that we could play with Rock Hill and win tonight. Playing that high level of competition twice each week has made our team match hard and our girls quicker with their decision making and distributions. We still have two matches to play in the regular season before our first match in the playoffs. We play on Monday at home against Lugoff-Elgin and on Thursday at home (senior night) against Chester. We believe we will be traveling to Irmo (first place in their region) for our first round match play. I know the girls are excited about this match and certainly will give their very best efforts. They are having great fun right now with their futbol and as a team they have bonded into a nice family. The coaching staff is very happy for them and know they will finish the season in great spirits.”