The Lady Tigers varsity soccer team entered Spring Break on a four-game winning streak capped off by a dramatic penalty kick win over rival Lumpkin County last Tuesday at Tigers Stadium to move Dawson County into second place in the Region 7-AAA standings.
“I told the girls before the game, ‘I don’t have to explain this one to you,’” said Coach Chess Hamby about playing rival Lumpkin County. “’And you young girls, if you don’t know, you’re about to find out.’"
“It’s cool to get a win against Lumpkin anytime, but the significance of it puts us in position to go into (the state tournament) as a No. 2 seed and host a playoff game. Not only was it a big rival game, but there was a lot riding on it besides just beating your rival.”
Lumpkin County (10-4, 4-2 Region 7-AAA) opened the scoring less than seven minutes into the March 27 contest and looked as thought they were going to carry the 1-0 advantage into halftime until the Lady Indians committed a foul inside the penalty box.
Rachel Rajczak stepped up to take the penalty kick for Dawson County (8-2, 3-1 Region 7-AAA) with a little over ten minutes remaining in the opening half, and the junior buried it, tying the score at 1-1.
Lumpkin County came out fast in the second half, controlling most of the 40-minute period in the Dawson County end. However, the Lady Tigers defense held strong to limit the scoring opportunities for the Lady Indians, and when the Lady Tigers did concede a shot, goalkeeper Fallan Lacey (13 saves) was there to make the save.
“That was essentially a playoff game for us,” Hamby said. “That’s the type of game that’s going to be in the playoffs. It’s going to be 1-0, 2-0 at the most. It’s usually a one-score game in the playoffs and there’s a lot of defense played.”
The defense kept the game tied 1-1 and after a scoreless overtime period, the game went to penalty kicks.
Rajczak was the first up for the Lady Tigers, followed by junior Ruthie Pittman. Both Rajczak and Pittman went high with their shots, scoring perfect shots in the upper portion of the net.
Lumpkin County was able to score on their first two shots as well, but after sophomore Sam Floyd was able to put the Lady Tigers up 3-2, Lumpkin’s third shot sailed over the crossbar to give Dawson County the miss they needed. All the Lady Tigers had to do was score on their next two shots to win the game.
Freshman Molly Muenchen was up next. Dawson County’s leading goal scorer wasn’t going to miss, so it all came down to sophomore Maggie Wright. With the game on her foot, Wright didn’t disappoint. The sophomore scored the game-winner and was immediately tackled by her teammates in celebration.
“We actually went through (penalty kicks) the day before at practice,” Hamby said. “Right at the end of practice, I told (the girls) we were going to go through (penalty kicks) and everybody had to make it before we go home. So, we went through it one time and one girl at the very end missed. So, we went through it a second time and everybody made it.
“I don’t know if that was the difference, but that’s kind of how we did it.”