With time running short Tuesday night, the No. 1 seed Lakeside Lady Panthers were in danger of getting drummed out of the 2012-13 GHSA Class AAAAA Girls State Soccer Tournament.
Trailing 2-1, the Lady Panthers scored twice in the game’s final 7:21, holding off the No. 4 seed Effingham County Lady Rebels 3-2, advancing to play host in the state’s second round on Tuesday, May 7.
“The girls keep battling when things aren’t going our way,” said Lady Panthers head coach Nick Edmond. “They do work hard, they do fight back even when they’re not playing well... I think they got a little scared thinking our season could be over in 10 minutes.”
The Lady Panthers’ (13-2-1) Devin Haygood saw some chances fall by the wayside during the game but the sophomore was clutch when it came down to crunch time.
On a Lady Panthers corner kick, there was a scrum in the middle of the field and the ball was sent back to the corner where Colby Canada played it back in and Haygood found the back of the net, tying the game with 7:21 to play. Haygood had scored the game’s first goal just four minutes in with a corner kick passed from Kallie Beckham.
Haygood then assisted on Cassandra Wade’s game-winner with 2:25 left in the game.
“I heard her calling for it,” said Haygood, who fed her perfectly from her spot between two defenders in the middle of the field.
Having beat her defender on the right side, Wade fired the ball into the left corner of the net from 12 yards out.
“I saw that she (Haygood) had a man on her and I had a wide-open through ball, so I called for it hoping we would get a goal, but we got lucky with it,” said Wade.
Trailing 1-0 early, the Lady Rebels (8-10) kept fighting and took advantage of a defensive lapse to tie the game at one on the first of Sara Flagg’s two goals with 23:45 left in the half.
“I told them that going into it they’re going to battle you to the end, and we’re going to have to step up, it’s the playoffs, they want to move on just like you do,” Edmond said.
After missing three one-on-one chances and called for being offside seven times in the first half, the Lady Panthers controlled the ball in the second half, but the Lady Rebels’ Stacy Burgstiner was equal to the task and finished the night with 13 saves.
Flagg then gave the Lady Rebels the 2-1 lead with 16:10 when her shot from the right side went over the head of Lakeside goalkeeper Rachel Hardin.
At the end, Haygood seemed more relieved than exhilarated and focused on what lay ahead.
“We’ve just got to work harder,” Haygood said. “That’s what we’ve got to do.”