Lady Jags top Cavalier drama
First, the Lady Cavaliers rescued their senior night in dramatic fashion. Less than two minutes after Overhills scored to take a 3-2 lead, Southern Lee senior Alondra Aveldanez smashed a rebounded shot into an empty Overhills goal tying the match with 0:58 remaining.
In the extra 20 minutes though, Overhills (12-5-3, 9-2-1) spoiled the big night. Sophomore forward Jordan Forbess scored her second goal of the match, striking an excellent, dipping shot from a stride beyond the top-left corner of the Lady Cavalier penalty box in the 86th minute for what became a 4-3 Lady Jaguar victory.
Overhills, finishing second place in the Cape Fear Valley, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening 26 minutes. Forbess scored in the 8th minute followed by Emma Richards making it 2-0.
The Lady Cavs played plenty of the match in the Overhills half but turned little of the pressure into good scoring chances.
“We just didn’t come out ready to go,” said Southern Lee head coach Jason Burman. “We gave up an early goal and then we had to chase the game the rest of the way.”
The Lady Cavaliers (9-7-1, 7-5) would’ve tied for third in the conference with a win but instead finished fourth, meaning a date with a No. 1 seed coming up in the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament which starts Wednesday.
The Lady Cavs honored eight seniors at halftime: Vicky Monroy, Angie Estevez, Gabby Clunie, Dazym Rodriguez, Aveldanez, Whitney Schultz, Johanna Lipscomb and Demi Freeman.
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Once the ceremony was over, Burman had a few seconds left for his halftime talk before the second-half kickoff.
Whatever spurred Southern Lee, it worked as the Lady Cavalier attacking turned into chances on goal and, off a hustling play by Lory Acosta to keep a 50-50 ball alive moving toward the Lady Jaguar penalty box, Monroy sprinted onto the ball and buried a strong, low drive by the Overhills keeper making it 2-1 Overhills with 32:24 remaining.
Overhills dictated much of the next stretch, forcing Estevez, the senior Lady Cav keeper, into multiple tough saves to keep Southern Lee in the match.
The Lady Cavaliers tied the match largely out of nowhere. From a free kick along the right sideline in the 65th minute, Monroy hit a high cross toward the far post and Yusimar Gonzalez timed a leaping header perfectly to score from a couple yards out.
Overhills scored what looked like the winning goal in the 78th minute. Pilar Pomales headed in a corner kick.
The Lady Cavs dramatically kept the match alive in the final minute from a free kick, then a mad scramble inside the penalty area.
Monroy took the free kick and put a good shot on goal. Keeper Lillian Soliday saved Monroy’s strike. On the rebound, a Lady Jaguar defender body-blocked a Lady Cavalier blast on goal near the left post. Off that rebound, Aveldanez buried a shot into the largely unguarded net.
The dramatic finish didn’t carry over into Lady Cavalier momentum in overtime. Southern Lee was playing its second overtime match in two nights, a night after a 2-1 win in 100 minutes at Gray’s Creek.
The wide open game, as Overhills outshot Southern Lee 23-16 in regulation, turned into neither side mustering a lot of attacking in the extra period.
Forbess got the winning goal after fighting to gain possession and taking a couple short dribbles to set up her shot, a right-footed strike from about 22 yards away.
Despite coming up a goal short, Senior Night was still reason to commend the eight-player class, Burman said. Many talented freshmen and sophomores have played lots of minutes for the Lady Cavs this season, making the task for the seniors more difficult in some ways, said their coach.
“We’re still a very young group and these seniors have been great examples,” he said. “This senior class, they’ve started some traditions here that we will carry on.”