Calhoun Soccer caught a break from the rain, but not the cold as they split with Dawson County Friday at Calhoun High School. The Lady Jackets fell in penalty kicks 2-1 while the boys came back down 5-2 to win 6-5 in extra time.
Lady Jackets come up just short to Dawson County
A fight until the bitter (cold) end. Neither team was determined to lose as the match took 14 rounds of penalty kicks to determine a winner. Dawson County outlasted Calhoun 2-1 after penalty kicks (7-6).
“(Dawson County) is probably one of the top 10, top five teams in the state in 3A, so we showed a lot of competitiveness,” Lady Jackets head coach Taylor Sumrall said. “We fought extremely hard. We grew a lot. We played better than our last game. That’s all you can ask every day is that you get better every single day, so I was pleased with the girls tonight.”
The Lady Jackets are on a three-game skid, but head coach Taylor Sumrall noted his squad’s fight throughout the 100-plus minutes.
“We’re never happy with a loss, but at the same time, there’s positives to take away from it,” Sumrall said. “We played probably the hardest game we’ve played all year right there and I told them I can’t be more proud of them. Tough loss, but you win some you lose some.”
After trailing 1-0 at the half, Calhoun would find the equalizer as junior forward Hannah Dimeler received a pass toward the middle of the 18, took a path through traffic and placed a right-to-left low shot across for a goal.
“We fought extremely hard the whole time (and) we never gave up,” Sumrall said. “They can play with anybody as long as they put in the work and the fight to do it.”
The difference in the game was Calhoun senior goalkeeper Carcia Zamora, who went toe-to-toe with DC’s keeper for 100 minutes and 14 rounds of penalty kicks. After Dawson County’s kick to win the game in round 14, the two respective goaltenders congratulated each other in a show of respect.
“She’s done great this year,” Sumrall said. “She’s been aggressive like we ask her to be. She communicates well. She’s really stepped up and played well this year.”
Yellow Jackets complete comeback
The Calhoun Yellow Jackets scored four unanswered goals to complete the comeback against the Dawson County Tigers 6-5 in a bitterly-cold match.
“I saw fight in them, and that’s what it’s going to take,” Yellow Jackets head coach Matt Rice said. “We are in a very tough region and an equally tough, if not tougher, state. If we want to make a run and we want to do something special, that’s what it’s going to take. We’ve got to figure out ways to beat good teams and win when maybe there’s some things going against us.”
Just over 10 minutes in, Calhoun’s Mario Marroquin opened the scoring. Less than two minutes later, the Jackets posted a 2-0 edge as Cristian Vasquez won a one-on-one challenge with Dawson County’s keeper and put the ball in the open net.
However, in a span of about 15 minutes, the Tigers rallied for five consecutive goals. Suddenly, all the momentum rested squarely with Dawson County, as the Yellow Jackets scrambled to stop the bleeding.
“They’re a good team, we’ve got to give them credit,” Rice said. “Their striker, up top was dangerous all night long and he caused us a ton of problems. He either scored or contributed to all five goals.”
The Jackets tallied late in the first half, cutting DC’s lead to 5-3.
“I just asked them what matters most to them,” Rice said. “Does your team matter? Does your school matter? If it does, go out there and do it and I thought they did that.”
Calhoun played a better brand of soccer in the second half, fueled in part. Just over halfway through, Vasquez would record his second of the game, bringing the score within one (5-4).
With just over 10 minutes to go, Calhoun found the equalizer, courtesy of Mikey Lopez. After regulation, the contest was tied 5-5.
“I think they showed us in the second half they care,” Rice said. “They care about each other and they care about their school and they care about their team. That’s what wins ball games.”
The first 10-minute overtime session featured no scoring, but 2:46 into the second part of OT, freshman Alexis Villalobos found gold, placing a strike into the right side of the net.
“We knew no matter what we had 20 more minutes to play,” Rice said. “But I just told them you’ve got a brand new ballgame. We didn’t play well in the first half, played well in the second half, but you’ve got a new ballgame to start. I said got out there and take it if you want it and they did.”
“We all know they’ve got the skill, they’ve got the talent,” Rice said. “If they’ll care about each other and play like they did there, they can do anything.”
By the time the game wrapped up, temperatures stood at 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Our focused attack was better,” Rice said. “I think a lot of games we’ve had good effort, but it wasn’t necessarily focused in the right direction.”
After wrapping up non-region play,Calhoun prepares to travel to Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe to battle the Warriors on Friday, March 6. Kickoff for the girls’ game is scheduled for 5 p.m., immediately followed by the boys at 7 p.m.