DOBSON — Surry Central led for much of the game before falling in overtime to Piedmont 3-1 in the 2A soccer playoffs.
The Lady Eagles had a tough first-round opponent in the Lady Panthers (13-4) from Monroe.
The two teams battled back and forth across a soggy field without a score for most of the first half.
After three failed attempts on corner kicks, the Eagles finally scored on the fourth.
Sarah Bruce soft-touched the ball to Tess Dockery near the baseline, then Dockery fed the ball back to Bruce, who had curled around to get a diagonal look at the goal. She hammered a liner into the left side of the net.
The score remained 1-0 through the half.
For the first 23 minutes of the second half, neither team could score. The Eagles did have a great shot at a goal with a ball high and toward the right corner, but the Panthers’ keeper just got her fingers on the ball to deflect it away.
With 17 minutes left, Piedmont got a corner kick. The players stood well back from the goal and then crashed hard on contact. Piedmont’s Abby Mills came free in the box and headed the ball into the net.
“I felt like the turning point in the game was when they got their first goal,” said Coach Matt Richardson. “We clearly had the momentum early.”
Piedmont got a couple of corner kicks in the second half and converted one, he said.
“That seemed to deflate our girls and gave them (the Panthers) an extra spark,” he said.
That would put the game into overtime. There, the Panthers scored twice in a minute to blow open a close match.
Five minutes into the overtime period, the Eagles were called for a hand ball just outside the 18-yard box.
Mills booted the ball in on the direct kick for a 2-1 lead.
About a minute later, the Panthers scored again off a six from about 23 yards out, said the coach.
The Eagles had just three reserves on the bench for this one, and the players looked tired on the field, he said. With Piedmont attacking over and over, the home team seemed to wear down from all the defensive stands and wasn’t able to get the run-outs they had in the first half.
“They are a solid team,” Richardson said of the Panthers. “I felt like we were in a good position to win, and we didn’t get it done.”
The Eagles finish the season at 16-5-1, but return the entire roster as they have no seniors.