It just wasn’t meant to be.
In a game where everything that was even for more than two hours, the Lady Mavericks of Anderson County lost on an overtime penalty kick to Livingston Academy, 2-1, in the AA Region Soccer Tournament.
Anderson County outshot the Lady Wildcats 15 – 4, and owned possession during regulation play — getting 192 successful passes to Livingston’s 134.
Neither team, however, was able to get a ball in the net.
The game belonged to the midfielders.
The two squads then battled for two, 10-minute overtime sessions. Again, neither team scored and the game remained locked at 0-0.
The game would be decided on penalty kicks.
The Lady Mavs are repeat District 5 champs and defending Region 3 champs. They had lost to Livingston Academy in the regular season, dropping a 5-2 decision some four weeks earlier.
But at tourney time, it came down to penalty kicks.
Each team selected five kickers ad after alternating kicks the team with the most goals would win.
Natalie Bartley put the Lady Mavs 1-0.
Goalie Allyssa Wetherington made three clutch stops, a fourth Lady Wildcats offering sailed wide, and the fifth was just out of reach and the first set of penalty kicks ended at 1-1.
The next phase of penalty kicks was “sudden death:” Score and hold and win.
After more than two hours of play Livingston squeaked by its second attempt of the second penalty kick phase and Anderson County was stopped on its attempt.
The final was 2-1.
Tears of sadness and tears of joy hit the turf at Maverick Stadium after the game.
However, in a remarkable display of sportsmanship and mutual respect, when the last whistle was finally blown, both teams met in the center circle to link hands in prayer for safe travels, speedy recoveries for injuries, and in thanksgiving for the opportunity for two such well-matched opponents to meet on a beautiful night under the lights at Anderson County High.