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Joyce Endee

Double OT goal sinks I-L girls

Laconia scored with just over two minutes remaining to knock off the Lakers

I-L’s Emelia Pendergast looks to shield off a Laconia defender during the Lakers 2-1 loss in double overtime. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 26, 2011
MEREDITH – It was as close as the Inter-Lakes High School girls' soccer team has come to a victory in some time, as a heartbreaking goal in double overtime gave visiting Laconia High School a 2-1 victory on Sept. 20.

"We had plenty of chances and we executed on plays that we haven't in the past few games," said I-L coach Steve Jordan. "But the girls played well and that's all I can ask for."

The Lakers came out on fire in the first half, sensing their first victory of the season was within reach. Amanda Downs peppered the Laconia goal early in the frame, as I-L had arguably its finest ball movement of the year.

The hosts nearly got their first goal of the season in the fourth minute, as Sarah Dunlap's shot ricocheted off the crossbar and clanked off the football goal post out of bounds. All the pressure finally resulted in that elusive first goal however, as Charlotte Morrow dribbled through the Laconia defense and put a perfectly-placed low shot into the back of the net to put I-L up 1-0 in the 24th minute.

"We went out with more intensity than other games and it finally paid off with that goal," said Jordan.

After dominating possession for most of the half, Morrow almost scored in the final minutes. Her blast from 20 yards out beat the Laconia goalkeeper but was just wide. Jaci Casella-Sullivan nearly got to the ball on the back post for the rebound, but it skipped out of play and the Lakers settled for the 1-0 halftime advantage.

Despite being outplayed for the majority of the first half, visiting Laconia came to play after intermission. The Sachems put a few shots on I-L goalkeeper Tricia DelRossi before finally breaking through in the 49th minute, as a well-placed one-timer off a cross beat the keeper up high and the contest was all even at 1-1.

"We've got a young team still learning confidence on the field," said Jordan. "We knew it was a game that we could win but Laconia picked it up in the second half."

The Lakers had their chances however, as Al Cotter was taken down in the box midway through the second half and a penalty kick was awarded. Senior Samantha Chase took the kick, but her shot went over the crossbar and the Sachems avoided catastrophe to remain level.

With time winding down, I-L had one final chance in regulation, as a through ball found the foot of senior Ally Brown and she broke in alone, looking at a one-on-one chance with the Laconia goalkeeper. But with Brown just 25 yards from the goal, the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of regulation, and the teams headed to overtime.

I-L dominated the first extra frame, as Downs and Dunlap worked a beautiful give-and-go to get a great shot on net that was turned away. Dunlap's shot late in the 10-minute session went barely wide as well, as the Lakers appeared to have the fresher legs in OT.

"We kept up that intensity into the overtime," Jordan said. "I was happy with the way we shook off that goal and put some pressure on."

Brown stole the ball near the corner flag in the second OT, and played a sweet square pass to Dunlap, with her one-timer finding its way over the Laconia net. Morrow continued her solid game at center mid in the frame, while Madelyn Edgar and Alexandra Brewer paced the stout defensive effort.

The Sachems were able to leave Meredith with the tight 2-1 win however, as Laconia earned a free kick about 25 yards out from the I-L goal with 2:15 left in double OT. The kick was placed perfectly in the upper corner, and DelRossi had no chance of getting to it. The win was the first on the season for the Sachems.

"If we play like we did today the rest of the season, we're going to have chances to score some goals and be right in there against some teams," said Jordan.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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