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Lady SoccerDawg rally, last-second goal earns region crown at ORHS

For the first 70 minutes it appeared that it wasn’t Bearden’s night.

The state-ranked Lady SoccerDawgs had out-shot No. 8-ranked Oak Ridge the whole night, but nothing was finding its way past Wildcat goalkeeper Lauren Fritz.

For the last 10 minutes, the Lady Bulldogs’ soccer team manufactured two goals to win the Region 2-AAA championship 2-1 Thursday, Oct. 25, at ORHS.

“With about 20 minutes left I felt like, ‘well, it’s not our night,’ Bearden head coach Eric Turner said. “The [Oak Ridge] keeper has played great, she has made the saves. We couldn’t seem to get behind them.”

Bearden (19-2-1 after the win) tied the game 1-1 with 10:26 to go after Ashley Howarth scored on a sliding goal after Kate Beil sent a high-arching pass over the Oak Ridge defenders.

With 17 seconds left, Bearden’s Samantha Turner took a cross from fellow freshman Caroline Gianeselli and knocked in the game-winner.

Bearden junior Amy Porter took possession near midfield and dribbled towards the ORHS goal to set up the final score.

“I just saw [Porter] going down,” Samantha Turner said. “I have been taught when I see that play to make my backside run and that’s all I was thinking about.”

Bearden out-shot Oak Ridge 8-4 in the first half, but nothing found the net as the score remained 0-0 into halftime.

“We pounded them the whole first half but in our sport you have got to do it on the scoreboard,” coach Turner said. “I told the girls if it was a football game the score would be 49-0 but unfortunately it’s a soccer game, so its 0-0.”

At the 46:22 mark, Oak Ridge’s Greta Jochman broke the tie with a goal on an assist from Trenna Howell. Bearden continued to have scoring opportunities, but nothing came of it until Howarth’s goal.

“I thought we played really well,” coach Turner said. “We did exactly what we wanted to do today. Their keeper came up huge in the first half.

“They stuck around and got that goal early but our girls came back and didn’t quit.”

The Lady Bulldogs made an offensive adjustment in the latter stage of the contest to enhance its chances of getting a late-game goal. It was a gamble that paid off for Bearden.

“We just started playing four forwards up top and it made us just go more aggressive,” Gianeselli said. “We wanted that goal real bad so we just kept going for it.”

Despite being down late in the game, the young Bearden team kept its composure on the field the entire game.

“We have been taught to just play our hardest throughout the whole game no matter what and we just stuck together as a team and put it away,” Samantha Turner said.

Oak Ridge went on to earn a state tourney trip with a 15-5-3 record.


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