Lady Flames outwork Wolves, advance to another GSC semifinal
That’s what senior leader Mia Hollingsworth said set apart the Lady Flames in potentially their last home game of the 2018-19 season.
It was a total team effort that allowed the Lady Flames to advance to their 4th consecutive semifinal, beating the West Georgia Wolves by a score of 1-0.
Hollingsworth said that during the second half, everything finally fell into place, and it was time to kick it into gear.
“We were letting them high-pressure us, and I could have seen a goal coming from them,” Hollingsworth said. “Then something just clicked, and we said we’re not going to allow this. We’re not going to concede. I’m sprinting towards every ball 110 percent of the time.”
It was the keepers that shined in this quarterfinal match. Both Lady Flames keeper Taylor Green and West Georgia keeper Jackie Donaldson exchanged their share of impressive saves, keeping the game scoreless for the majority of the match.
Green credits her defense for being in-sync and staying composed throughout the contest. The last line of defense set the tone for the entire team.
“We really committed to passing the ball,” said Green. “The back line played very well tonight and played with confidence. We were relentless in defending and did not allow them to find their groove. That helped us be successful overall.”
Lady Flames freshman defender Caitlin Dickson had quite the save of her own and saved a lot of momentum for the home team as time ticked away. Dickson slid right in front of the goal to block a shot out of harm’s way. The strike had the potential to put the Wolves ahead in the contest had she not been around for the save.
As the game progressed, intensity flourished. It was a match of constant momentum swings, as both teams exchanged shots and painfully close opportunities. However, it was redshirt senior Kate Carney who headed in what was the game-winning goal for the Lady Flames.
“I just kept sneaking up into the six. I saw that Av [Avery Engels] had the ball and GiGi was yelling for me to get in the box,” Carney said. “Avery set a perfect ball to me, and I just jumped in and tried to get something on it and get it in the goal.”
The lone goal was all the home team needed to eliminate the West Georgia Wolves from playoff contention. The Lady Flames have never lost to West Georgia since they joined the Gulf South Conference in 2012.
The road to another GSC Championship runs through Montevallo, as the Lady Flames will square off in an elimination game against the Falcons to punch their ticket to the championship match this weekend.
While the Lady Flames are no stranger to the pressure, Hollingsworth said it doesn’t change the game one bit.
“Every year that I’ve been here so far, we’ve been in the championship,” Hollingsworth said. “We won last year. So there’s definitely pressure to continue.”
Hopefully this won’t be the last of the Lady Flames on their home field this season. The team looks to better their resume and fight for a home playoff berth in the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
A GSC Championship might do the trick.
“We just have to keep playing like we are and winning,” said Green. “If we commit to playing together and trusting the girls around us, I see no reason why we shouldn't be able to defend our title.”