Lily Moore didn’t think she had just won the game. After Owensboro Catholic battled back from a 2-0 halftime deficit, a wild sequence in the last minute put the winning shot at Moore’s foot.
She scored with 17.2 seconds on the clock to edge Daviess County 3-2 in the Region 3 girls soccer championship Thursday, but it was a defensive stop that helped get the win.
At the other end, the Lady Panthers were crowding the box and nearly got the go-ahead goal themselves. Lady Aces’ goalkeeper Megan Goodwin made a desperate save with her leg on a shot just in front of the net, and Gena Jones pushed the ball up the right side of the field before getting the ball to Moore at the top of the box. Moore said the whole situation was nerve racking.
“At first I thought it was going to hit the pole and go out, but then I heard everyone scream and was like ‘Oh gosh, I guess it went in,’ ” Moore said. “But literally, Megan had the most unbelievable save. She’s done that the entire year, and that’s pretty much what got us to not lose that game.”
Kara Morris, who tied the game at 2-2 with a direct kick from about 35 yards out with 16:55 to play, said it was wild just watching everything unfold.
“It was crazy,” she said. “That quick counterattack really gave us hope. When it went in, everyone went crazy and we were like ‘we just did this.’ ”
Owensboro Catholic (14-6-1) started a little slow and gave up a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes. They settled in from there, and head coach Kelli Brannock said the halftime talk was about finishing the game strong.
“At halftime we talked about playing all 40 minutes,” she said. “I think in the first half we played all but the first 11 minutes. We talked about playing strong, playing 40 minutes and leaving nothing in the tank and just coming out with energy.”
Morris said they knew if they didn’t fight back, the season was over.
“We knew this was it,” she said. “This could be our very last game. At this point, down 2-0, you have nothing to lose, so go out there and give everything you’ve got. Everybody played their hearts out.”
Daviess County (10-6-2) got the early advantage when Ashlyn Payton took the ball deep and passed back to Chloe Hinchcliffe, who lofted in a goal only eight minutes in. They scored again less than three minutes later with a goal from Lainey Armistead, and that’s when Owensboro Catholic started to turn the momentum around.
“The first 10 minutes we came out pretty slow, but after that we came out hard,” Moore said. “The whole halftime talk was about proving we could do it, so we just had to go out there and score.”
It was a pass from Moore to Gena Jones that got the Lady Aces on the board with 32:09 to play. Morris said that’s when she knew they could come back.
“That really gave us momentum to take it all the way and say this was our game, we got this,” she said.
Morris lofted her shot perfectly over the goalkeeper for the equalizer, and the defense was able to maintain the second-half shutout for the win.
The Lady Aces advance to the next round, and they host Greenwood (16-2-3) in a semi-state game Monday. The Lady Gators beat Bowling Green 1-0 in a shootout in the Region 4 championship. In the only meeting this year, Owensboro Catholic lost 5-0 at home to Greenwood.
Brannock said it’s a good feeling to get a big win and get back to the state tournament after missing out last season.
“We worked hard for 6 months or so to get to this point,” she said. “We had to go out and give it our best. They certainly did that.”
Morris is also excited to keep playing and hopes to make a deep run.
“Last year, it was tough not going to state,” she said. “It’s really good to make another appearance and show everyone what we’ve got.”