LINCOLNTON — Following an intense conference matchup between the North Lincoln Lady Knights and Lincolnton Lady Wolves Wednesday night, the Wolves gained a 3-2 home win in the final minutes of overtime play.
For most of the night’s field battle, the teams found themselves stuck at a 2-2 draw, with players pounding each net for the game-deciding goal.
Lincolnton came out strong and aggressive against North Lincoln’s first touches in the opening half, taking the ball straight back to their opponent’s defensive line. However, from the start, the Lady Knights kept pressure on the Lady Wolves’ offensive players, preventing multiple shots.
Sophomore Nicole Barbieri took the game’s first shot on goal, sending it just past the Lincolnton net. North Lincoln fans cheered several other spectacular plays from her as the match unfolded, including the team’s second goal, which tied the game with just seven minutes left on the clock.
Senior forward Brooke Anderson first lit up the scoreboard for North Lincoln with a low, hard shot 18 yards from the net at the 6-minute mark.
Lincolnton players attempted to score off a header during a corner kick a minute later by Alejandra Pena, who launched the ball from the corner and across the net on numerous occasions Wednesday night.
The scoreboard witnessed its first game tie at the 18-minute mark with a home team goal by Iva Ortiz. The speedy Lady Wolf secured a fast break midway through the half that ended in a soft touch past North Lincoln senior goalkeeper Reagan King after the she moved forward from the mouth of the goal.
The back-and-forth goal attacks continued into the second half including the Lady Knights’ near shot two minutes into play — a shot that Lincolnton defender Jessica Alvarado pushed out of the box.
The Lady Wolves took the lead at the 23-minute mark with a second team goal, raising the score to 2-1. Amaryllis Chavez snagged the point a couple of touches after Pena sent a corner kick ball into the heart of aggressive territory in front of the net.
After North Lincoln tied the game 2-2 in the final minutes of play, both squads picked up their attack and scurried around the field, each desperate for the next goal.
Going into overtime play, the Lady Knights produced numerous shots but none seemed to hit their target, and their opponent celebrated the victory with a second personal goal for Chavez, who pushed the ball into the net off a corner kick with two minutes left to play. Pena assisted the shot.
North Lincoln head coach Kelly Barney commented on her team’s weaknesses during the match.
“I thought we played hard, but struggled finishing our shots,” she said.
The Lady Knights secured a total of 23, almost quadruple the Lady Wolves’ number of shots, Barney told the Times-News.
“We missed several opportunities to score, and that ultimately hurt us,” she said.
Despite the loss, Barney believed her team showcased more skillful play than one of their top annual rivals.
“Lincolnton is always a challenge for us, and hopefully we can bounce back and move forward,” she said.
Lincolnton head coach Ian Leith didn’t agree that North Lincoln executed the better game.
“Our overall intensity matched theirs,” he said.
Leith revealed his squad’s plan for the tough matchup was to “defend hard and look for breakaway opportunities.”
He also praised Alvarado’s leadership efforts on defense alongside outstanding play from Thristin Carr and freshman goalkeeper Rachael Calero.
Lincolnton is currently 3-2 in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A Conference.