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No. 3 Cougars claw back (10/15)

October 16, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - The Jefferson girls soccer team overcame its biggest halftime deficit of the season Saturday afternoon and Allison Hornbeck scored the game-winning goal late as the No. 3 Cougars slipped past Hedgesville 3-2, spoiling Senior Day at Mumaw Stadium.

The Cougars trailed 2-0 at the half before getting second-half goals from Kaitlyn Mahoney, Katie Perry and Hornbeck for their 16th straight win. Hornbeck's goal came in the 76th minute.

"It was off a corner kick at first," said Hornbeck of the game-winner. "Then someone passed it back out to the corner and there were a couple of us around the goal. I just got it and put it in.

"We've been down at halftime lots of times this year, but we've always come back."

Jefferson (16-1) has been down its share this season, but never by more than one goal.

"I don't get too excited when we get down because I know we have the ability to come back," said Jefferson coach Dunnie Bache. "It takes character to win 16 in a row."

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Hedgesville (6-10-1) appeared ready to snap the area's longest winning streak through the first 40 minutes of action. The Eagles were forced to retreat often, but consistently turned the Cougars back.

But when the Eagles' attackers saw an opening, they capitalized on it. Hedgesville had just four shots on goal in the first half, but scored on half of them. Erin Breen struck first in the 16th minute, breaking free up the left seam and beating Jefferson goalie Sarah Cooper for a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles upped the lead to 2-0 in the final seconds of the half when Alex Baker crossed a pass from the left side toward the goal. In the box, Lauren Palermo tapped the ball to Heather Dailey, who booted it into the open goal.

"In the first half the girls were really fired up, with it being Senior Day and playing a very good team," said Hedgesville coach Sonny Tippett. "Then in the second half with the lead, we got defensive minded. We were like the Redskins trying to run out the clock with 14 minutes left in the game."

Hedgesville's caution cleared the way for the Cougars to claw at the lead. In the 48th minute, Mahoney gathered a pass from Tiffany Banks, and her shot deflected off the goalie before rolling in.

Perry took advantage of a botched goal kick in the 65th minute to knot the game at 2-2. The kick had very little air under it and Perry controlled it from about 25 yards away. She charged the goal and cut her shot into the net.

"I told them we dug ourselves a ditch and we had to cover it up. We had to play our game," said Bache. "These girls believe in themselves. It was a growing process, but they finally believe."

The Cougars' big second half cost Hedgesville a chance to host a first-round game of the sectional playoffs. An Eagles win or tie would have given them the second seed and home game. Instead, Hedgesville is the third seed and will travel to Martinsburg on Tuesday.

Jefferson is the top seed and will host Musselman on Tuesday.

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