LAWRENCEVILLE - Rockdale trailed 2-0 when its chance to start a comeback came.
Junior Nicole Young earned a penalty kick and the team's best scorer lined up the kick.
"I tried to go to the right, but she guessed right," Young said.
Central Gwinnett keeper Yustine Nambo deflected Young's kick and the Black Knights hung on for a 3-1 win.
"Their goalie was super-amazing," said Rockdale coach Alf Hoist. "She read it all the way through. Saving a PK doesn't always happen in the World Cup, must less high school soccer."
Young got a modicum of revenge late in the second half when she chipped the ball over Nambo's hands from 20 yards out to end the shutout. With less than two minutes left Young nearly repeated the goal on a direct kick, but Nambo got her fingertips on the shot.
"I had nothing to lose so I picked it up and did all I could," Young said of her late-game comeback attempts. "I wanted to get a goal for the team to get them pumped up."
The goal just came too late.
Through the first half, the Bulldogs kept the game at 0-0 with team defense, but missed multiple chances at an open net.
"Those are the hardest to get in," Hoist said. "I thought we had it in the first half. In the first half we kind of shocked them a little bit."
But the Black Knights adjusted at halftime, and with new pressure on the Rockdale defense, it allowed the two early second-half goals from Central Gwinnett's Taiwo Adeshigbin and Erin Lee.
And even after the missed penalty kick, the Bulldogs did not quit.
"I am proud of the girls," Hoist said. "They didn't lose it. They kept it together."