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Lady Gators fall in double overtime
Haley Burke
Bulloch Academys Haley Burke attempts a shot Friday during the Gators 2-1 loss in double overtime against Arlington Christian in the first round of the GISA Class AA state playoffs. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/Special to the Herald

            The Bulloch Academy Lady Gators suffered a heartbreaking loss in double overtime in the first round of the GISA Class AA girls’ soccer playoffs Friday.

            “We never gave up,” said BA head coach Will Avra. “When we were down 1-0 in the first half, we kept fighting. When we tied it up, we kept fighting. When we had five minutes left in the second overtime and were down by a goal, we kept fighting.”

            Arlington netted its first score at around the 15-minute mark of the first half.

            “We’re still a young team, and I think the nervousness of being in the playoffs and being at home got to us,” said Avra. “There was some defensive communication early in the game.”

            Still, his Lady Gators matched up well with the Lady Eagles.

            “We came out and matched their aggressiveness,” said Avra. “We came out strong. Emily Morgan and Morgan Anderson did a good job at midfield. We didn’t knock the ball around like we are capable of though.”

            Bulloch (7-6-1) knotted the score at around the 65th minute in the second half. Kaitlin Ellis headed the ball into the Arlington net off of a Haley Burke corner kick.

            “It was the sweetest goal we’ve scored all year,” said Avra. “We’ve been working on it all year and it finally paid off.”

            The game still was tied when the official’s whistle blew at the end of 80 minutes. A 10-minute overtime didn’t decide anything. The second 10-minute overtime was halfway completed when the Eagles scored.

            “It seemed to suck the wind right out of our sails,” said Avra.

            The Lady Gators enjoyed their second consecutive winning season and the best record ever.

            “I’m very proud of the girls,” said Avra. “We had a good year. We’ve got a lot to build on. I really appreciate all of the hard work and leadership by our graduating seniors, Kaitlin Ellis, Heaven Hinton, Ashlie Smith and Alysia Hankinson. They will be missed.”