COVINGTON - Alcovy keeper Cody Stargell's penalty-kick save with five seconds on the clock preserved the Tigers' 3-2 win over Newton in Friday's county-rival game.
The Newton Lady Rams had to come from behind to get their 2-1 victory over the Lady Tigers.
Alcovy 3, Newton 2
With 27 seconds left in the game and the score tied 2-2, Alcovy's Sama Tucker was able to score the game-winning goal as Newton (1-2-2 overall, 1-1 Area 2-AAAAA) keeper Emanuel Guiterrez was less than two feet from making the stop.
However, all the cheering quickly turned to fear when Newton had a chance to send the game into overtime on a penalty kick with five seconds left.
Fortunately for Alcovy (2-3-2, 1-2 Area 4-AAAA), Stargell was able to guess correctly, stopping the ball and securing the win.
"That was the fifth penalty kick we've come up against this year, and Cody's already stopped a couple of them," Tigers coach Chris Edgar said. "He was relaxed and ready to go. He saved us and that whole group in gold owes him a big thanks."
As Newton's kicker booted the ball, Stargell picked the right spot to dive to for the save.
"It was another (penalty kick) and I was getting ready for it," he said. "I guessed that he was going to the right. I really didn't know. I was going to go to the left first then I went to the right. I almost missed it, it was a fingertip save. I got it and was pretty excited.
"It feels great, we beat them last year and we beat them this year. My senior year and we beat Newton, it's a great feeling."
The Rams started the game looking like they were going to leave the field with an easy win after Homero Michaca made it 2-0 with 28:40 left in the first half.
Newton's first goal came just two minutes before Michaca's.
"I told them that we have to make this field sacred, that we have to protect it," Edgar said. "I think we either thought that we were too good or we didn't respect Newton. You can't do that with a crosstown rival. My hat's off to Newton. They played (hard). They came out and played hard, and I don't think we were ready to start the game. Fortunately, we settled in and didn't give up."
Five minutes after Newton took a 2-0 lead, Nick Waggoner had a bicycle kick that froze the keeper and defender to make it 2-1.
Before Tucker made the game-winner, Waggoner tied the game with 12:43 left.
"Anytime we play Newton or Eastside, we want to win. Newton played a heck of a ballgame, but we wanted to win, we needed to win," Edgar said.
Newton 2, Alcovy 1
The Lady Tigers (6-5, 2-2) took control of the tempo and they had all the scoring opportunities they wanted.
Despite all the chances they had, it was Newton (3-2, 2-0) that scored first when Lynea Fouser sent the ball past two defenders and the keeper with 6:18 remaining in the first half.
"We just couldn't finish," Alcovy coach Phillip Davidson said. "We had some opportunities. The girls played hard, but we just couldn't get the ball in the net and that's what it's all about."
As the second half started, the Lady Tigers continued where they left off, applying the pressure to Newton's defense.
All of their attacking finally paid off when Kendall Krueger tied the game with 26:13 showing on the clock.
"I knew they were going to score. They're a good team," Newton coach Mary Roach said. "We gave them so many opportunities.
"Our goal was not to give them any corners - we gave them three. We didn't do well in that area. I told them key players and numbers to not give them an opportunity. That didn't work."
But the Newton girls would not be denied their win as Candy Penaloza hit a high kick just over the hands of Alcovy's keeper.
"We made one mistake and they ended up scoring the winning goal," Davidson said. "The girls really wanted to win this game. It's a tough loss."
Manny Fils can be reached at email@example.com.