It took nearly 92 minutes, but Mifflin County pulled out a victory over the Chamberburg girls soccer team, 2-1, on Thursday night.
With Mifflin County joining the Mid Penn Commonwealth Division this year, the two teams had never met each other before. They were evenly matched throughout the entire game, and it took all four periods to determine a winner.
With 8:01 remaining in the second overtime period, Mifflin County's Kaitlyn Eckley soared a shot from 35 yards out. It flew just over the fingertips of Trojan keeper Shannon Edwards and into the back of the net.
"I'm certain that the girls are down on themselves for letting it slip away," Chambersburg coach Eric Guyer said. "But there were a lot of good things. A lot of times with this team, it seems like they play their hardest when they're in these situations, which is a good sign for the future."
Chambersburg (1-5, 1-3 MPC) has struggled all season trying to find team chemistry and momentum, but Thursday was much different.
The Trojans dominated in possession time and created a number of opportunities for themselves. They led with eight shots, compared to Mifflin County's six, and several of Chambersburg's chances went just wide or just high.
"We moved the ball the best that we've moved it all year tonight," Guyer said. "We strung together longer possessions than what they did. They would get a couple passes in there, but it seemed like overall possession, we controlled the tempo of the game.
Although the momentum was all in Chambersburg's favor in the first half, the game remained scoreless until the 52nd minute, when Edwards made a costly error.
There was a breakdown in the midfield, and the ball came rushing toward Edwards. She moved to the top of the box in hopes of getting the ball out of trouble, but she had two Huskies coming her way. Edwards miskicked, and the ball ended up right at the foot of freshman Mackenzie Sweitzer, who kicked it inside.
"It's an unfortunate break for their goalie; nobody deserves to have something like that happen," Mifflin County coach Steven DeArment said. "But Mackenzie did a nice job of charging her down to put some pressure on her. Then she took advantage of it when it was there."
Although it looked like a mistake resting solely on the shoulders of Edwards, there was more that contributed to the breakdown. The midfield was left unprotected, allowing the two Huskies to escape with plenty of space.
"It seemed like a progression of bad choices that led to that," Guyer said. "I give credit to (the Huskies). It wasn't like they saw that and let up. Honestly, I would suspect that (Edwards) all those girls coming and maybe took her eye off the ball a little bit. There's a lot of things that have to happen when that play goes on."
Not long after, though, the Trojans were right back in it. After a beautiful chance by Devin Furness, who led Chambersburg with three shots, the Trojans kept putting on the pressure. Eventually, it paid off.
With a large crowd in the box, McKenna Peters made a quick pass back to Emily Neady, who lined it up perfectly for a goal over Huskie keeper Halle Fisher.
"She shoots the ball spectacularly whenever she has the opportunity," Guyer said. "McKenna made a great little pass back to her in all that chaos of the crowd that was in the box. (Emily) stayed over top of it, hit it low and just blasted it over the keeper."
After that, the teams remained relatively even until the second overtime, when Eckley got the game winner.
The biggest issue for the Trojans on Thursday night was hesitation to shoot the ball. There were a number of times that the Trojans were in scoring position, but instead of shooting, they'd make one extra pass, which would give Mifflin County time to respond defensively.
"There was a couple times where I think we could've cranked a 20- to 25-yard shot to at least challenge their keeper to see where they were at," Guyer said. "There was space between the 30 and the 18 (yard lines) all night long that I think that maybe if we'd have taken more shots, we could've created some more opportunities to get some rebounds or even get goals."
The Trojans will be back in action Saturday night against Cedar Cliff, and Guyer said he's been seeing progression all season long. With each game, he feels Chambersburg is making improvements, and he thinks they are getting closer to where they hope to be.
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or email@example.com.
Mifflin County 2, Chambersburg 1 2OT
Mifflin County 0 1 0 1 - 2
Chambersburg 0 1 0 0 - 1
Mifflin County scoring: G - Mackenzie Sweitzer, Kaitlyn Eckley.
Home scoring: G - Emily Neady. A - McKenna Peters.
Shots - MC 6, Chbg 8. Corner kicks - MC 3, Chbg 4. Saves - MC 3 (Halle Fisher); Chbg 2 (Shannon Edwards).
JV: Chambersburg 3, Mifflin County 0
Next game: Saturday, at home vs. Cedar Cliff, 7.