Lightning delay sparks Walton rally in all-Cobb semifinal
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
May 15, 2014 04:00 AM | 2613 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Their ponytails flying, Lassiter’s Annie Christian, left, and Walton’s Riley Ewing battle for field position in their Class AAAAAA semifinal Wednesday night. 
<BR>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Their ponytails flying, Lassiter’s Annie Christian, left, and Walton’s Riley Ewing battle for field position in their Class AAAAAA semifinal Wednesday night.
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Lassiter was in the driver’s seat for almost the entirety of Wednesday’s Class AAAAAA state semifinal with Walton, and the Lady Trojans were ahead by a goal when lightning suspended play with 2:26 left in overtime.

Once the game resumed at Frank Fillmann Stadium, Walton took control.

The Lady Raiders came through with two unanswered goals in the final minutes, took their first lead of the game and held on to win 13-12.

Now, Walton (14-6-1) is in the state finals for the first time and will have a shot at upsetting four-time defending state champion Milton on the road Saturday.

Walton lost by 10 to Milton when the teams met during the Area 2AAAAAA schedule March 18.

“We’re hoping to go out and see what we can do with Milton,” said midfielder Sophia Watkins, who joined Erin McBride with five goals apiece Wednesday. “We’re hoping to have another great game.”

Things went Walton’s way just seconds after play resumed, when Lassiter’s Erin Gustafson left the game with a yellow card. McBride capitalized almost immediately, scoring an unassisted goal to tie the game with 2:11 left.

The Lady Raiders had another scoring opportunity nearly a minute later. Watkins found a way to shoot through traffic and scored from outside the crease for the eventual game-winner.

Lassiter (17-4) called timeout after Walton took the lead, but it never threatened to score. Walton possessed the ball during the final 25 seconds to seal the victory.

The loss was only the Lady Trojans’ second to a team from Georgia, the other coming against Milton.

“We had 30 minutes to talk about our strategy, and what we put together worked,” Walton coach Mandy Ryan said. “The kids kept their composure, played smart.”

Lassiter took control early in the game when Alyssa Gattis scored on a Jill Rankin assist for a 2-1 lead 8 minutes into the game. The Lassiter lead grew to 4-1 on a free-position goal by Alex Fusco, and Walton called a timeout.

When Rachael Rankin scored on a free-position shot for an 8-4 Lassiter lead with 1:30 left in the half, Walton switched goalkeepers, replacing Emily James with Kathryn Sweeden.

The change turned out to be key for Walton. Sweeden allowed just four goals during the second half and overtime.

Another move that paid off was assigning Riley Ewing to win draws, and Walton also benefitted from increased turnovers by Lassiter in the second half.

Trailing 10-7 with 14:47 left in regulation, the Lady Raiders began making their move.

They scored three straight goals, beginning with a sidearm shot by Ewing that found the net. Carly White converted a free-position goal nearly a minute later to bring the Lady Raiders within one goal, and they tied it at 10-all with 12:19 left on an unassisted goal by Watkins.

Neither team scored again in regulation.

Lassiter reclaimed the lead 2:13 into overtime when an interception by Lucy Mills led to a Cydney Tutchton goal, but Walton answered 23 seconds later on a breakaway goal by Watkins.

Lassiter took the lead one last time on a free-position goal by Tutchton, right before the lightning delay struck.
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JA_Trojan
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November 04, 2014
I'm sure there are a million other closely contested high school games like this that have been played where the underdog, under extreme conditions, eventually finds a way to pull ahead. But with the torrential rains, crazy conditions and everything else, for a sport that doesn't get a lot of fanfare, this game was absolutely brilliant! If you're a fan of sport, this game was about heart, perseverance and a spirit to win possessed by both teams. Unfortunately, there has to be one winner and one loser in this contest. Without a doubt, this was a life lesson for every one of these young ladies about competition. The one thing that both sets of fans who endured the ups, downs and delays, will agree on is that they will remember this game, always.
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