BEREA — The Madison Central girls soccer team clinched its eighth-straight district title with a 1-0 win over rival Madison Southern in the 44th District championship match on Thursday.
With the team on tired legs from Wednesday’s battle with Model Laboratory, first-year Central head coach Charlie Hamilton said he expected his team to dig deep when it counted.
They did just that.
After battling the Lady Eagles for the entire first half and a couple of near misses on both sides, Central was locked in a scoreless draw at halftime.
“It was physical and we knew it would be,” Hamilton said of the first half. “In a game like this everybody is nervous, especially early on.”
However, mid-way through the second half, the Lady Indians found their opportunity.
Central senior Savannah Saylor was battling for possession off a corner kick when Southern was called for a penalty after she and a Lady Eagle fell to the ground.
The Lady Indians elected freshman Kally Lloyd to take the penalty kick with the game potentially on the line.
“Kally has more composure,” senior Madison Whittaker said of the decision. “In our last game against Model we all missed our penalty kicks and we decided to try something different. We were really confident Kally could get it in for us.”
Lloyd stepped up.
“I was thinking to myself, ‘If I miss — it happened, move on,’” the freshman said of taking the penalty kick. “My team gave me this opportunity and I might as well do my best to put it in the back of the net.”
She did, and gave Central another championship.
“I’m so proud of Kally,” Hamilton said after the game. “To see a freshman step up and say, ‘I got it.’ Then, she makes it. It shows a lot of trust in our team.”
The Lady Eagles continued to battle until the end.
Minutes after Lloyd’s goal, Southern’s Katilyn Stanton had a near miss, which bounced of the right side post of the goal.
However, Southern could not find the back of the net.
“It would’ve been great to win this game like we did last night and all credit goes to Southern,” Hamilton said of the low-scoring victory. “It was a battle and we fought. We were tired, but it shows how bad they wanted it. It was a bad break for Southern, but we made the most of the opportunities we were given.”
Central controlled much of the first half, but couldn’t convert some good looks to goals.
In the first half, Shelbi Morrison launched a shot at the goal in the opening minutes on a breakaway but the ball hit the crossbar.
Lynsey Patrick followed up minutes later, but her shot was swallowed up by Southern keeper Sarah Mitchell.
Southern got a good chance when, less with than five minutes to go in the first half, Abby Sheffer got her foot on the ball in a crowded box.
Central keeper Emry Willis dived just in time to save it.
Both teams will take on opponents next week in the 11th Region Tournament.