It was a tale of two halves for the Capital City Lady Cavaliers on Friday night against the Ozark Lady Tigers.
The Lady Cavaliers had the upper hand in the first half and carried a 1-0 advantage to halftime, but the Lady Tigers found the back of the net twice late in the contest to grab a 2-1 victory in the Helias Shootout at the Crusader Athletic Complex.
“I felt like we hung with them and played good for most of the game,” Capital City coach Travis Cairer said. “Then we just kind of turned one over.”
Capital City wasted no time taking the lead in the contest.
Georgia Pardalos was fouled a couple steps into the box just over five minutes in, which led to a penalty kick for Brooklynn Greene -- who found the bottom-left corner to push the Lady Cavaliers in front.
“Always good to get a lead and get ahead,” Cairer said. “… We’ve really harped on being early with the possession, early with dominance and trying to take advantage of the first five, 10 minutes.”
The Lady Cavaliers had their best scoring chance early in the second half.
Pardalos was able to find Greene making a run behind the defense with a through ball, and it left Greene with the ball and just the goalie in front, but her shot was turned away.
“Not only being able to make those runs, but actually getting someone that has the ball to visually see it and get it there,” Cairer said. “… We harp on it a lot in practice and we talk about it. It’s always good when they do it.”
Capital City’s back line on defense was able to keep Ozark’s attack at bay for the most part in the first half, but the Lady Tigers attacked relentlessly in the final 40 minutes.
Ozark had four shots on goal in the first half -- all turned away by Natalie Allison in goal -- but would end up with 17 in the contest.
Allison ended up with 15 saves.
“Just like any day, she does a great job,” Cairer said. “She’s a confident goalkeeper, she’s got really good ability and knows how to play the spot. Always good to have that keeper you can rely on 100 percent.”
But with just more than 21 minutes left, Addison Shuler got one past Allison.
After making a run down the right side of the field, Shuler cut to her left toward the center of the box and fired a low-liner off her left foot and into the bottom corner of the net to Allison’s right to tie the game at 1.
“We did a pretty good job of cutting angles and kind of negating easy opportunities like that,” Cairer said. “It’s just one of those where one slip can really cost you in games and it definitely did there.”
The score remained level until just more than two minutes left despite Allison saving eight shots in the span.
With 2:13 left, Natalie Morgan stepped up to take a corner kick from the left corner, and she bent the kick into the upper-right corner on the far side of the goal from her to give Ozark a 2-1 lead with very little time left.
“We’ve been struggling with balls out of the air,” Cairer said. “Whether it is a free kick from 30 yards out that’s being played in behind us, or it is a cross from a corner, we are a little lackadaisical sometimes at those set pieces, corners being one of them.”
The Lady Cavaliers were able to get one final shot away in the final 10 seconds, but it was turned away with little issue.
Capital City (8-2) finished with eight shots in the contest, four on goal, and will look to rebound at 10:25 a.m. today against Troy-Buchanan to conclude the Helias Shootout at the Crusader Athletic Complex.
Ozark (7-5) finished with 21 shots.