Regulation wasn’t enough to decide who’d come out on top Thursday night at Sharp Stadium between the Alcovy and Rockdale County High School girls soccer programs, but a single goal in overtime settled the score, as the Lady Tigers edged Rockdale 3-2 in Region 2-AAAAAA action.
With the score knotted at 2-2 at the end of the second period, Alcovy wasted little time finding the back of the net in the first five-minute overtime session.
On its first possession of overtime, Alcovy’s Sage Fuller found midfield Alex Jordan on a throw-in down the right sideline. Jordan dribbled to the right corner, turned and sent a cross across the face of the goal, finding freshman Blakely Dimsdale on the backside of Rockdale’s defense. Dimsdale used one touch and sent a screamer past Rockdale’s Sonam Brahmbhat in goal, putting it past the keeper for the go-ahead score.
Alcovy’s defense shutout the Lady Bulldogs over the final eight minutes of overtime, clinching the region win.
“We’ve been working a lot on crossing it and being there for the cross,” Alcovy coach Anna Hebert said. “Blakely has a beautiful touch. She always knows how to weight it. She doesn’t overpower it. She’s a very impressive ninth grader.”
While Alcovy held the lead for much of the second half it was Rockdale that struck first in the opening period, scoring 12 minutes into the contest on a Vanessa Rome goal. Rockdale controlled the ball at midfield and send a high bouncer over the Alcovy defense that fell between Rome and Alcovy defender Isabella Goldstone. Rome won the ball and sent a shot past keeper Katie Barton, giving Rockdale a 1-0 lead.
Alcovy tied the game with less than eight minute to play in the half on a Tayler Crews penalty kick. The Lady Tigers drew the penalty kick after Jordan squared up for a shot on goal that was blocked in the box by the hand of Rockdale’s Afriana Been. After the whistle for the handball, Crews stepped up and calmly put the penalty shot in the net, evening the score before halftime.
It took almost 19 minutes for Alcovy to break the tie in the second period, with Jordan finding the back of the goal for the Lady Tigers. Fuller took a shot deep in Lady Bulldogs’ territory that missed its mark and bounced off the crossbar, but Jordan followed the miss, gathered the ball, and sent a perfect strike past Brahmbhat, giving Alcovy its first lead of the game.
Rockdale’s offense, which had been stagnant much of the second half, found a bit of life with 11:16 left in the game, tying the contest for the second time. Carly Moon won a loose ball near midfield and sent a pass down the center of Alcovy’s defense to Rome. No defender touched the ball on its way to Rome down the center of the field and the forward gathered the pass and scored, evening the score at 2-2.
Barton, who finished with 15 saves in goal, kept Rockdale off the scoreboard two minutes later, stopping a game saving indirect kick inside of the box. Barton was whistled for illegally touching the ball in the penalty box, setting up the kick for Rockdale. But, Mireya Arteaga’s shot in the box was blocked by Barton, preserving the tie score while setting up overtime.
Barton picked up four saves in the extra period, but Rockdale’s offense never seriously threatened to score, as Alcovy held on for the one-goal win.
“To be honest, I was worried (it’d) be robbing Peter to pay Paul, taking her off the field to put her in goal, but, I realized not only will she be physical in goal, but she’d keep her head about her,” Hebert said. “She doesn’t let one bad thing keep her down. That (save) was crucial.”
Brahmbhat had 12 total saves, including eight in the second half.
Rockdale coach Greg Duffey said his team’s effort was “heroic” after facing the Lady Tigers without starters Meghan Meyers and Margaux Bowie.
“We suffered some injuries from some key players … when you plan and plan and plan for a game plan that includes those cogs in your wheel, it’s tough to adjust on the fly, especially against a tough team like Alcovy,” Duffey said. “We tried to make some adjustments at halftime, (but) Alcovy is a well-coached team.
“We thought we were (fitter) than they were and we tried to use speed, but it just wasn’t in the cards,” he said. “Heroic. My team is heroic. I’m proud of them …”
Alcovy returns to action April 14 at home against ELCA, while the Lady Bulldogs return to the field April 15 against Shiloh.