Lady Knights fall short in title game
Published 11:29 pm Thursday, May 9, 2013
The Suffolk Christian Academy girls’ soccer team started Thursday with a dramatic 2-1 victory against Oaktree Academy in the completion of a rain-delayed semifinal game of the Seven Cities Athletic Conference tournament. Then, the Lady Knights turned around to face Summit Christian Academy in the championship game less than hour later. They made it close in the end, but ended up losing 3-2.
When it was decided that the semifinal game would be delayed until Thursday, about 10 minutes remained on the clock, with the game tied 1-1. The condensed amount of time to score a winning goal created a great deal of pressure for the girls.
“I was extremely nervous about Oaktree,” stopper Danielle Stauffer said. “All morning, I was shaking the whole time.”
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As the clock resumed yesterday, both teams threatened, but the two five-minute overtimes quickly became necessary. The extra sessions were not sudden death, so both had to play out.
“I was praying the whole game,” goalkeeper Julia Jackson said.
If the score remained tied, the game would advance to a shoot out of penalty kicks. It appeared destined for this end when Suffolk Christian’s Victoria Twisdale scored her 21st goal of the season, and second of the game, with about 10 seconds remaining.
“They played harder those 20 minutes, the first 10 minutes and then those two five-minute overtimes, than I think I’ve seen all season,” SCA head coach Stacy Pauley said. “I was very relieved when that was over, but I knew that the next challenge was right behind it.”
The semifinal game concluded around 3:30 p.m., and the championship game was scheduled to begin on the same field at about 4:05 p.m. Summit, which had defeated the Lady Knights earlier this year by scores of 2-1 and 3-1, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half.
“I think our girls were tired for playing so hard that first 20 minutes, and I didn’t put the younger girls in because I knew that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with (Summit),” Pauley said.
She noted that the Lady Eagles were beating her players to the ball.
Then, about midway through the second half, with Summit leading 3-0, SCA’s Elizabeth Arnold hit a corner kick that Stauffer met on the other end.
“I was in the right spot, and I stepped in, it hit me in the stomach, and it went in,” Stauffer said. “I didn’t kick it, I stomached it.”
With new life, the Lady Knights continued to apply pressure and saw the fruit of it when Caitlyn Benton scored with about five minutes remaining.
Stauffer envisioned her day ending the way it began if her team had only had more time to work with.
“If we would have had just a few more minutes, I think we would have tied it up and gone into two five-minute overtimes,” Stauffer said.
“I truly think that if we would have had another five, maybe 10 minutes in that game, we could have come back and at least tied it, if not won it,” Pauley said.
Both Jackson and Stauffer were named to the 2013 All-Conference team, after playing in what was their last game with Suffolk Christian Academy. Stauffer, a senior, gave her impression of the season.
“I think we did OK,” she said. “We started out rough, and then our girls progressed.”
She said she could tell that her team “wanted it today.”
Jackson, who is moving to Jacksonville, Fla. in a month, gave her parting thoughts on SCA’s 2013 team.
“I am definitely going to miss them,” she said. “I think we did way better this year than I thought we were going to, because we had like four or five high schoolers and lots of little kids. We did really good.”