SYLVANIA – Two overtimes weren’t enough to settle the score as Screven County needed penalty kicks to slip past Southeast Bulloch by a score of 2-1 Tuesday evening at Kelly Memorial Stadium.
Ashley Clifton came up with 17 saves – and even scored a goal in the shootout – for the Lady Yellow Jackets, but the Lady Gamecocks were able to pull out a 3-1 edge on penalty kicks for the win.
“Both teams really played their hearts out tonight,” said Screven coach Terry Markovcic. “We lost a pair of overtime games to SEB last season, so we were glad to get a win. It’s a great game anytime these teams get together.”
Regulation time was a possession struggle throughout the game.
Clifton came up with the first of many big stops in the 7th minute as she stopped a Morgan Boswell shot dead in its tracks.
SEB also had an early scoring opportunity. A cross from Christan Carter found Sussanah Davis in the Screven box in the 13th minute, but Davis’ shot went just left of the goal.
Rochell Shuman broke through the Jacket defense in the 23rd minute, but Clifton was able to race out and clear the ball before Shuman could line up a shot.
Coming out of the half tied at 0-0, SEB was the fist to make a mark on the scoreboard.
A Screven defender attempted to clear the ball out of the Gamecock zone, but Crystal Dowell won possession and found space to work. The senior raced into the box and easily slipped a shot past Jessica Markovcic for a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute.
“We knew that (SEB) would come out strong in the second half,” said Terry Markovcic. “When they took the lead, I just reminded our girls to stay calm and keep their heads up. We kept fighting hard and got back into the game.”
Netanya Suarez almost doubled the Jacket advantage in the 57th minute. Suarez had an open shot inside the Screven box, but missed wide left.
The Gamecocks would immediately take advantage. On the ensuing possession, Screven raced down the field. A perfect cross found Madyson Torres all alone against Clifton and she put the ball into the net to tie things up.
Screven controlled possession as time wound down in regulation, but Clifton and the SEB defense held strong.
After one scoreless overtime had passed, the Jackets nearly ended the game just seconds short of penalty kicks.
With under ten seconds remaining in the final overtime, Dowell pulled down a loose ball in the Screven box. She looked to have space, but Megan McGuire arrived just in time to deflect the shot away from goal.
“At first, I thought we were in trouble,” said McGuire. “I didn’t think I could get there. I just hoped she would turn towards me and she did. I stuck my foot in and luckily got a piece of it.”
SEB took an immediate lead in penalty kicks as Clifton stopped a shot by Melanie Chance before turning around and knocking one past Markovcic.