Liberty Center junior Peyton Armey scored the winning goal with 9:03 remaining, giving the Tigers a 3-2 non-league victory over Bowling Green Monday night.
It is LC’s second victory over a Northern Lakes League opponent this year. On Sept. 4, the Tigers destroyed Henry County rival Napoleon, 9-1, and they are now 6-6-2. BG fell to 5-8-1.
“We’ve had a little bit of struggles this year, but we’ve had some talks and the girls are starting to fight and they are finishing games,” LC coach Chad Ball said.
“They are not quitting early. They just keep fighting and doing what we need to do.”
On the Bobcats’ pitch, the Tigers did not give up even though they trailed most of the game but controlled 75% of the possession.
“I was just telling the girls, ‘I don’t like coming from behind, but a win is a win.’ The work effort and fighting hard for 80 minutes, you can’t complain,” Ball said.
Both BG goals were scored by junior forward Sydney Maas. The Bobcats were losing the battle at midfield, so to score they had to go over the top and get it their speedy athletes, like Maas, on the front line.
Maas scored the game’s only first half goal, getting a rebound off her own shot, and then putting it back into the net with 25:16 remaining in the first half.
LC finally responded with 34 minutes remaining in the second half, even though the Tigers finished with 19 shots on goal to BG’s seven. In total shots, LC enjoyed a 30-12 advantage.
Senior Carly Roth took advantage of the Tigers’ relentless pressure on the net, tying the game at 1-1 just six minutes after the second half kickoff.
Until then, BG senior goalkeeper Carrina Wiseman-Esparza had made 13 saves to keep the shutout intact. It took 46 minutes of soccer before the Tigers prevailed.
“It’s one of those things when you are down there so long and you keep pounding away, ‘Man, when is one going to lucky for us?’ But you keep fighting and it comes,” Ball said.
However, it only took 36 more seconds for Maas to respond and put BG back in front.
On a cross right from sophomore midfielder Maddy Adams, Maas nailed a 25-yard shot over the head and to the left of LC junior keeper Tarryn Hollenbaugh, putting BG ahead, 2-1, with 33:24 left in the game.
Just over seven minutes later, LC junior Alyssa Giesige tied the game again off a set piece that began with a free kick by senior Kylee Kern just outside the goalkeeper’s box. Giesige found the handle on Kern’s kick, and one-timed the ball into the net with 26:09 remaining.
Armey scored the game-winner on a rush to the net by three Tigers. Armey and two other front-line Tigers had to get by only one BG defender, and Armey took advantage.
For BG, Adams had a 25-yard shot that hit the top crossbar with six minutes remaining — a few inches lower and the Bobcats would have forced another tie.
BG coach Erika Kimple says the momentum switched once the Tigers finally got past the Bobcats’ back line and scored their first goal.
“I think our big issue is our own minds right now — it is more mental. Once we got scored on, we just fell apart,” Kimple said.
“We can actually play really good possession, really great soccer, and when we get scored on, we just stop and we just play kickball and make our forwards run after it and our midfielders do all the work rather than just calming down when we can possess it with no problems,” Kimple continued.
Kimple hopes her girls will learn from this game.
“Hopefully they got something out of this, and they have some sort of mentality and desire, and a little bit of heart,” Kimple said.
Maas now has a team-leading 28 points on 11 goals and six assists. She had five shots against the Tigers, including two that were saved by Hollenbaugh.
Esparza-Wiseman had 15 saves for the Bobcats and Hollenbaugh finished with five saves for the Tigers.
In addition, BG senior defenders Ava Werdebaugh and Elsa Concannon and senior midfielder Layne Fry had key non-goalie saves.