Courtney Brangers lined up for a kick with 42 seconds remaining in regulation with her team (Elizabethtown) trailing 3-2 against arch rival Central Hardin. With so many things going through her mind as she waited for the official’s whistle, it may have dawned on her that her team, the Lady Panthers soccer team had not allowed three goals in a game this season and still won. In fact, they had allowed only once three or more (against Male on August 19th 5-0) and lost so the odds were not in her favor, but there she was in position to tie the game and give her team a chance to win a game which for most of the contest appeared to be lost. Then suddenly as she swung her foot the ball took off in a slightly high direct angle several feet over the Lady Bruin goalkeeper (Grace Borgerding) into the back of the goal smacking the net. The game tying goal triggered a celebration by the Lady Panthers and the looks of disbelief from the Lady Bruins.
Elizabethtown head coach Pat Black had to be relieved as his team which had already beaten Central Hardin earlier this season (a 1-0 win) now would play an extra period, but for Central Hardin coach Chris Ernst, it had to be like relieving a nightmare which he couldn’t wake up from. Just 4:13 gone from the first extra period it got worse as Ella Durbin, just one of two freshman on the squad took a shot from the right corner that soared over Borgerding’s head and ended the game.
Durbin’s sixth- goal of the season ended a truly strange game in which Central Hardin scored three times in succession in the first half and appeared to be in control of the game early. Since 2000, NO TEAM during the Central Hardin-Elizabethtown Girls Soccer series had a team overcome a 3-0 deficit to win so when sophomore striker Brittany Music scored the Lady Bruins third goal with 20:56 left in the first half the game appeared over. Then everything changed again although not quite as quickly until the Lady Panthers finally answered with their first goal at about a minute and a half left before the half when Gabby Garcia (the hero from Elizabethtown’s last game against Central Hardin) scored.
The Lady Bruins still appeared to be in control even though they were held scoreless in the second half by the Elizabethtown defense (they have allowed only 13-goals all season including 11-shutouts), but Central Hardin’s defense was pretty good too (allowing only 15). Finally when Josie Kremzar scored with 11:09 left in regulation, things started to get tighter.
Finally, a Lady Bruin was yellow carded with seconds left in regulation giving Brangers her shot to tie things up allowing Durbin her chance to be a hero.
The Lady Panthers are a slightly different team than the one we are use to with just three seniors including their solid goalkeeper Sydney Pinkham and Brangers, there is plenty of youth for Black to build around. Also, with both they and Central Hardin not favored to win the 5th Region, it really as proved to be gut check time for both teams as they will most likely meet again in the 17th District Tournament and possibly the Region Tournament at North Hardin.
If they do, the Lady Bruins will not quickly forget what happened that cool Wednesday night at Elizabethtown and surely the Lady Panthers will not forget how easily they nearly lost a game they thought was hopeless or how they overcame an impossible situation and who the next hero will turn out to be.