In a tight battle between a pair of Region 6 foes on Monday night, Olympus overcame a one-goal halftime deficit to rally and force overtime, and then eventually beat the Bengals 4-2 in a shootout.
”Big players step up in big moments. We had multiple girls step up in crucial moments of the game. It was a great effort from the entire team, a collective effort. Brighton came to play and high pressured all game. They are a great team,” said Olympus coach Jamie Evans. “This was an incredibly intense match. I’m proud of the never-give-up attitude coming from behind twice tonight. They never gave up and worked for the win.”
In the shootout the Bengals went first, but Olympus keeper Joss Baker made an outstanding save to open the shootout. The Titans would ride that momentum and win the shootout 4-2 to earn the critical region victory.
It was certainly a great performance from the Titan goalkeeper, who allowed her play to bring energy to her teammates.
“I’m so proud of my teammates for pushing through overtime and keeping the score even. They stayed focused and composed for PKs, which is really difficult. we brought so much positive energy, and we didn’t play for ourselves, we played for each other,” said Baker.
Before the penalty kick drama ever unfolded, the game was a tale of two teams putting relentless pressure on the other, each hoping their opponent would break first. It was the Bengals who struck first.
Brighton’s SaraJane Mikell opened the scoring in the first half off a great steal from the Olympus defense and firing a shot into the back of the net.
Brighton had chances to double the lead but Baker came up big at the end of the first half with some great stops to keep the deficit at 1-0.
Within the opening minutes of the second half Olympus quickly evened things up as Dani Lunceford kicked in a gorgeous shot just under the crossbar from nearly 40 yards out to level the score 1-1.
Mikell helped Brighton regain the lead later in the second half with a her second goal of the game, a 2-1 lead that last all the way until the 77th minute when Olympus Oteta Kitona found Hope Munson who buried the shot to tie the game 2-2 and send it into overtime.
It was a test of determination and will in overtime, with neither defense buckling. Brighton’s relentless pressure gave it multiple opportunities to score in overtime, but Baker again came up with some big saves.