The Mary Persons girls soccer team (11-2-1, 3-1 region) suffered its first region loss of the year, falling 2-1 in penalty kicks to the rival Red Devils of Jackson on Friday.
The girls game was battle of quality teams that were unbeaten in region play.
“I thought we were the better team and I feel like we controlled most of the game” said Coach Dallas Hall.
Jackson opened up the scoring early on in the first half after a bad turnover from MP with a shot over the goalkeeper’s head that stole the momentum from the girls.
“From then on we were just fighting to get back into the game” said Hall, after conceding the first goal.
The girls went into halftime down 1-0 but came out in the second half ready to claw their way back into the game. Freshman Karlie Dell hit a dangerous free-kick from outside of the box that narrowly missed and hit the crossbar of the goal. Fortunately for the girls, Karsen Winget stepped up and buried a penalty kick that tied the game at 1-1.
Just as the girls were getting back into the game and creating scoring opportunities, a lightning delay stopped them in their tracks. “We had good momentum before the delay and were creating chances and I think Jackson was getting tired so it may have helped them. We were also getting tired so it may have helped us as well,” said Hall of the delay.
In GHSA soccer, if a game is tied after the full 70 minutes of play, two 10-minute overtime periods are played to decide a winner. If the match is still tied after overtime, a penalty shootout takes place. The ball is placed 12 yards away from the goal for an uncontested shot against the opposing goalkeeper.
Freshmen Karlie Dell and Reagan Benson stepped up to the spot and finished both of their shots but unfortunately the other two penalty takers were unable to finish their opportunities and the Bulldogs lost the shootout 4-2.
While beating Jackson would have put the girls in a good position to win the region championship, their hopes are still alive but need some help. Pike County will have to beat Jackson next week and then the MP girls will have to beat Pike in the final game of the season to send the championship into a three-way tie. The girls were set to play at Union Grove on Tuesday, at Upson Lee on Friday before hosting Pike after spring break on Tuesday, April 16.