CONYERS — An own goal came back to haunt the Lady Patriots soccer team ending their season in the quarterfinal round of the Class AAAAA tournament losing to Northgate 2-1 in penalty kicks on Saturday.
“We had a great season and I’m proud of the season we put together. The bottom line is that we had a chance to win,” Heritage head coach Chad Suddeth said. “That’s all you can ask for this late in the tournament”
Heritage shocked the Lady Vikings early in the game scoring in the first two minutes of the contest. A Northgate defender misplayed a pass allowing Faith Sheldon to out run the defense easily beating Northgate goalkeeper Mattea Lewis for the goal.
The Lady Vikings came back strong trying to tie the game but Heritage defenders Sarah Jo Greer, Ray Brown and Abbey Dunlop kept Lily Barron from getting off her shot.
The defense, especially Dunlop. proved to be a thorn in the Lady Vikings side all game along.
“She’s a stud defender,” Suddeth said of Dunlop. “We’re going to miss her a ton next year.”
The Lady Patriots maintained the lead until the 35th minute when an the ball off a Dallas Weaver free kick deflected off a Heritage player to tie the game.
“That’s part of the game that we love. It hurts, there’s no doubt it hurts,” Suddeth said. It stings but we’ve won a lot of games in that same scenario so we can’t be too disappointed.”
Despite scoring first, it was the Lady Vikings that put the pressure on the opposing defense 22 shots on goal, 14 coming in the second half. The Lady patriots were held to two shots in the first half and six more in the second.
“I thought we played a perfect first half. The game plan worked out exactly how we wanted,” Suddeth said. “The second half they had us on our heels, no doubt.”
Heritage goalkeeper Mady Carter had 10 saves as many of Northgate’s shots were either wide of the goal or too high as they were unable to get clean shots off as a result of the Lady Patriots’ swarming defense.
“She showed up today. It’s too bad in the pk situation but in regulation she did her job and kept us close,” Suddeth said.
“I told them there was nothing I can say to make them feel better. That’s a tough loss. We were hungry, we wanted to go the next round. But I told them I was proud of the season they put together. They paid the price, there were some girls that started the season with us that are no longer with us because they didn’t want to do the things necessarily the right way. These girls are tough. They put together a lot of commitment, a lot of sacrifice. They deserve to be here.”