Thirteen years.

That's how long it took for Madison Southern to re-claim the 44th District Tournament championship.

One goal.

Was all it took to do it.

On Wednesday night in Richmond, the Eagles smashed the more-than-a-decade long title streak with a shootout 5-4 win over Madison Central behind a save from senior goalkeeper Tanner Hatfield.

This was not new territory for the Eagles -- they had faced the same nerve-wracking ending once before.

That time, the Eagles also claimed victory over Central-- and with it -- the No. 1 seed for the district tournament.

On Sept. 18, Southern defeated the Indians 2-1 in a shootout in Berea behind a save from Hatfield.

It was the first time in almost five years the Eagles had beaten the Indians.

For first-year Southern soccer coach Andrew Lunsford, there was no doubt his Eagles could do it again when it counted the most.

"I had full confidence that if it went to a shootout, we would win it," Lunsford said after the game. "Tanner once again had a huge penalty save and everybody else was able to convert. They did exactly what I expected they would do."

For the Eagles -- that meant breaking with tradition.

"I'm so happy for these guys and happy for the alumni and faculty. After so much time on the losing end of these things, this celebration has been building up a really long time. It feels great and I'm so happy for the team and everyone else," Lunsford said.

It wasn't an easy road to victory.

After battling for almost 80 minutes on the field, the Eagles were forced to play a man down for the final 13 minutes of regulation when Kole Linville was ejected from the game after picking up a second yellow card.

Despite that, the Eagles continued to fight and find opportunities in the double overtime.

"It's incredible that we managed that without a full team, but I think we had some better looks playing down like that. I think it shows the team's grit and heart and determination. They never stopped fighting, even though we were down," Lunsford said.

The coach credited the composure of Samuel Lee to helping the Eagles to victory.

Lee connected on the final shot of the shootout to clinch the historic win for Southern.

"I thought Samuel did a good job on defense for us tonight. Central didn't get many good looks back there because of him. He has been our rock all season and saved us tonight, as well," Lunsford said.

During the shootout, Zane Issacs nailed Southern's first attempt while Central's Luis Martinez was deflected by a lunge from Hatfield.

Evan Farley sent another flying into the back of the net to put Southern up 2-0 before Central's Jon Gordon got one past Hatfield to complicate things for the Eagles.

Francisco Aguilar got the Eagles back on track, but Central's Andrew Jones kept the Indians alive.

Pierce Meeks then stepped up to take on Central's keeper Jordan Hatcher. The keeper easily deflected Meek's kick, but the referees ruled that Hatcher left the line too early.

Meeks made good on his second attempt and expanded the Eagle's lead 4-3.

An ironic circumstance, as the same scenario happened during the team's previous meeting in September.

That mistake cost the Indians dearly, as Lee stepped up to earn the victory for the Eagles just one kick later.

"I was confident I was going to make it," Lee said. "I just looked at the bench and smiled (when I kicked it). I knew it was going in."

Both teams advance to the 11th Region Tournament next week, which is being held at Madison Southern High School.

After the game, the 44th District All-Tournament Team was announced. Members of the team included:

Berea's Kijyane Santiago and John Paul Wideman, Model's Jonathan Crosby and Michael Otto, Madison Central's Nick Wilson, Will Allen and Jordan Hatcher, along with Madison Southern's Tanner Hatfield, Sam Lee, Pierce Meeks and Evan Farley.

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