But Roger Lowe, head coach, said it was the only way he would want any of his teams to close their season, with a stirring effort against a quality team.
The veteran coach said Oconee County claimed its home victory by scoring the two teams’ only goal of the night off a well-designed offensive play.
“About 20 minutes into the second half Oconee counter-attacked with a beautiful play where they started down the right side and then moved to the left,” Lowe said. “They then took the ball toward the center and passed it to one of their players who headed it into the goal.”
Lowe said although Cartersville was down 1-0, the Lady Canes kept fighting and came close to knotting the score several times.
“We had our chances the rest of the way,” he said, “but we couldn’t find the net.”
He said one of those chances involved Stefanie Will, who dribbled the ball into a one-on-one match with the goalie with the game on the line.
“Stefanie tried to score but their goalkeeper was able to make the play for them,” he said. “I still don’t know how she made that stop.”
He said both teams found an ally in a driving wind that helped Oconee in the first half and then Cartersville after the break.
“It was a really strong wind and it helped Oconee stay on our side of the field most of the first half,” he said. “Our defense was magnificent and it stopped scoring attempt after scoring attempt. I’d say Sydney had 20 saves in the first half and they weren’t easy ones to stop. She had to work at it.”
He said Victoria Everhart and Molly Acuff also turned in superb defensive showings on behalf of the Lady Canes.
Lowe said Cartersville got the support of the wind in the second half, when the teams switched sides.
“Stefanie Will and Sydney Miller were responsible for a lot of offensive movement up and down the field for us,” he added.
Lowe said Oconee had the best offense the Canes saw all season, testing its defense.
“We just had to hang on in the first half,” he said.
Lowe said Cartersville came close to finding the net, particularly in the second half.
“A shot by Abby Ingram hit the top of the goal and one by Stephanie Hernandez hit the top and bounced out,” he said.
Lowe said both teams turned in good efforts.
“It was fun to watch if you understand soccer and know just how good the game was,” he said. “It was almost like a chess match, our defense against their offense.
“I feel like we played to our potential in this game. I am proud of our team. We worked hard.”
However, Oconee matched that effort.
“We seem to always have a great game when we play them,” he added.
Cartersville closed its season with an 11-6 overall record. It was 10-4 in its region.
The two teams met in the playoffs last year, with Oconee scoring the winning goal with about 33 seconds remaining in the game.