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Posted: March 13, 2014 11:05 p.m.

Late score lifts Luella over Lady Tigers

Matt Smith/

Alcovy's Destiny Hardy fires off a shot past the Luella goalie in the first half, but the Lady Tigers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Lady Lions at home, giving up a late second-half goal.

Alcovy girls soccer coach Anna Hebert said before the start of Thursday night’s contest against Luella that the Lady Lions would be an even match.

The Lady Tigers’ head coach proved she knew best, as Luella edged Alcovy 2-1 with a score in the game’s final 10 minutes after spending much of the match deadlocked.

With 6:20 left in the game, the Lady Lions’ Kayla Trice broke free from Alcovy’s (5-3, 2-1) defense for her second goal of the game, secure a road victory for Luella while giving the Lady Tigers their first lost in Region 2-AAAAAA.

Trice proved to be the game decider, scoring Luella’s lone first-half goal earlier in the match, while Alcovy struggled to finish chances around the net early in the second period.

“It was definitely an even match tonight,” Hebert said. “We really turned it on in the second half and communicated much better. The chances just weren’t there to finish. We hustled, we communicated, but we couldn’t get that last touch on the ball to finish near the goal.”

With the game even since the 34-minute mark in the first half, Luella was able to score the second-half’s only goal with time winding down, breaking open the even contest. After a back-and-forth offensive exchange, the Lady Lions capitalized on a throw-in, finding Trice near the goal. Trice secured the ball and tapped a shot by the Lady Tigers’ defense for the go-ahead goal, putting Luella ahead with just over six minutes remaining.

Despite possessing the ball for much of the opening 30 minutes of the period, the Lady Tigers were unable to mount a comeback bid. Alcovy had chances to score earlier in the half on a pair of Alex Jordan corner kicks, the second of which came with 9:42 left in the game. Jordan’s pass from the corner found the head of Katie Barton in the center of the box. Barton flicked the ball back to defender Taylor Crews and Crews squared up for a shot, but the shot missed its mark, firing wide left.

In the first half it was Luella in need of a game-tying score after Alcovy struck in the game’s opening five minutes.

With just under five minutes gone in the opening period, Barton had an opportunity for a score, firing off a shot at the Lady Lions’ Kira Wilson in goal that the keeper blocked. The ball ricocheted back into the field of play and found the foot of Destiny Hardy. Hardy secured the ball and blasted a shot off Wilson that found the right corner of the goal, giving Alcovy a 1-0 advantage.

Instead of waking up the Lady Tigers, Hardy’s goal seemed to fuel Luella. The Lady Lions knotted up the score at 1-1 just a minute later, scoring at the 34-minute mark on a counterattack in transition. Trice broke free from the Lady Tigers’ back line and went one-on-one with Alcovy’s Victoria Marchant in the net, squeaking a shot by the keeper, evening the score.

Marchant kept the score even with 2:30 left in the first half after the Lady Lions’ offensive front made its final move of the half, saving a shot just before it crossed the line to head into halftime tied 1-1.

Hebert said that despite the loss, the Lady Tigers showed signs of improvement with region action coming into full swing.

“We need to continue to model how we communicated tonight and talk about what worked and what didn’t,” she said. “Again, we still have to focus on our finishes and convert those chances we have to score. I was pleased with our defense and I think we can use our defensive momentum tonight to help us through the region schedule.”

The Lady Tigers return to action Tuesday at home against Locust Grove beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Sharp Stadium.

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