McGehee spoiled Sacred Heart’s efforts.
Down 2-0, the Hawks rallied, scoring a pair of goals in the final 25 minutes to clinch a 2-2 Division I, District 9 draw at Pan American on Wednesday night.
“Lapses of concentration,” Sacred Heart coach Tooraj Badie said. “You just can’t do that. We were winning comfortably at 2-0, maybe it should have been more, but a few minutes of losing focusing cost us two goals. And at that point, it became anybody’s game.”
In the overtime period — two 10-minute halves — the Cardinals surged ahead 4-2 behind a header and a tap-in from inside the box that determines the District 9 champion in the event both programs finish district competition tied.
“In the state of Louisiana, this is considered to be a tie,” Badie said.
“But for our district, in this situation, we play overtime and penalty kicks if necessary to determine a winner because we didn’t want to have district co-champions.”
It appeared the Cardinals (12-4-3, 2-0-1) would stroll to a 2-0 victory.
Seventeen minutes in, midfielder Emily Ellison curled a shot into the far right post that put Sacred Heart ahead 1-0 after a barrage of shots that Hawks goalkeeper Sydney Reynolds punched out.
The second score came via a Caroline Licciardi header in the 47th minute.
“We knew that we would control the possession; they would defend and try to hit us on the counter attacks,” Badie said. “Our girls were aware of that.”
It didn’t prevent McGehee from executing, though.
Virginia Bryan launched a shot from 22 yards out, reducing the Hawks’ deficit to one goal in the 61st minute.
Then, the Hawks (11-2-3, 1-1-1) scored again.
Katherine Kauffman popped a ball out of the scrum inside the box, which equalized the match.
“I wish I knew what changed, but the application and commitment of the girls was absolutely first rate,” McGehee coach Stephen Rae said. “In my four years, we hadn’t even scored a goal against them until tonight. To be a crossbar away from winning, I’m so proud of them. I knew they were dead on their feet, but they had so much adrenaline that carried them into the overtime periods.”
In overtime, Ellison scored twice — once on a header and then on a rebound goal to seal a tie-breaker victory for the Cardinals.
“I just told them to calm down, relax and just play soccer,” Badie said.
“You can’t play panicked. You have to settle down, you’re a good team and you need to do the things that we are capable of doing, which is putting the ball on the ground, passing the ball efficiently and possessing the ball. If you’re patient, it’s going to happen.”