Lauren McKowen popped in the game-winning goal with a minute left in the second overtime, lifting third-ranked University High to a 2-1 win at No. 4 Episcopal High in girls soccer play Wednesday evening..
The two schools’ boys teams squared off in the evening’s second match, and the fourth-ranked Episcopal boys used Clement Mubungirwa’s overtime goal to post a 1-0 win over No. 2 University.
All four squads were 6-0 in Divison III, District 7 play before the doubleheader. The University girls improve to 16-2-2 and 7-0 while Episcopal falls to 17-5 and 6-1.
Like the girls squad, the Episcopal boys (15-6-1, 7-0) will get another crack at University (11-3-5, 6-1) on Saturday when the Cubs host another doubleheader between the schools.
The two girls squads were scoreless through the first 77 minutes before University’s Annabell Simpson ran down a pass right of the goal. Simpson put a low kick to the left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
Episcopal came right back picking up the tying goal off a corner kick. Sadie Spring headed in Nicole Newton’s kick with a minute left to play setting up overtime.
“Annabell got behind us late in the second half, but I’m proud of my players because they didn’t quit,” Episcopal coach Matt Shelton said. “When you give up a goal with two minutes left in the game, usually you’re thinking its over.
“But, you know what? We pressed for two minutes, and we got one back.”
In the first overtime, Episcopal got off two shots to University’s one, but neither could convert. McKowen finally put through the game-winning goal as time wound down in the second overtime.
The Cub’s Jessica Willaimson set up the final goal when she centered the ball to McKowen with a header from left of the goal. McKowen then kicked a high floater that was too tall for goalie Moira Fontenot. The ball hit the crossbar and came straight down into the back of the net.
“I was just trying to get it in. It wasn’t supposed to be anything fancy,” McKowen said of the winning goal. “I didn’t want the game to go to penalty kicks and win that way. I wanted to show what we had now.”
The goal put an exclamation point on a contest University controlled in the first half. The Cubs possessed the ball most of half, and had two shots clang off of goalposts.
“We just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net,: University coach Melissa Ramsey said. “(In overtime) we just pushed through. We’re very fit. We focus on fitness all year, and I think it showed today.”
The Episcopal boys squad came back in the late game to post their ninth consecutive win. It was also the Knights first win over University in five seasons, a feat made possible by Mubungirwa’s goal with less than a minute to play in the first overtime.
Episcopal had two shots on goal early in the overtime, but it was Mubungirwa that came through late.
Taking possession of the ball with his back to the goal from just outside the top of the penalty box, Mugungirwa turned and put a right-footed kick into the upper right corner of the net.
“I told the guys it might take overtime or even penalty kicks, and to be ready to work all day,” Episcopal coach Chris Stewart said.
“If you work hard enough, you reap the benefit. “We’ve won nine in a row, we’ve scored 57 goals and allowed four. We’re on a little streak right now.”
The Knights will try and extend their streak Saturday at University High.
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