The Cumberland Gap Lady Panthers saw their 3-2 second-half lead wiped out as the Northview Academy Cougars scored the final two goals to win 4-3 on Sept. 13 in Kodak.
The loss dropped Cumberland Gap to 3-2 in the District 2 A/AA girls’ soccer race after a game in which the Lady Panthers struggled with inconsistency.
“I thought we were off the whole night,” said Lady Panthers’ coach Lorri Kimbrough. “We scuffed the ball. We couldn’t receive the ball. We looked like we weren’t in the game.”
Kimbrough didn’t think Northview’s artificial playing surface had much effect on the Lady Panthers performance.
“The ball moved pretty quickly, but we should’ve been able to adjust to that,” said Kimbrough, “at least by the second half.”
But the Lady Panthers were more productive in the first half.
Panther forward Brinley Collett’s pair of penalty-kick goals secured a 2-2 halftime tie. Both kicks were the result of penalties against Northview for touching the ball in the penalty box, once in the fifth minute and the other in the 38th.
Northview’s Lainie Floyd tied the game 1-1 in the ninth minute. Her teammate Baylee Farr gave the Cougars their first lead 2-1 six minutes later, before Collett’s second goal.
The Lady Panthers reclaimed the lead 3-2 in the second half when forward Ciara Goins scored on a 20-yard shot from the right wing in the 43rd Minute.
Within three minutes, Northview tied the game for the third time when Floyd sent in her second goal of the game.
“We would go ahead of them and then everything was going smooth,” said Kimbrough, “and then we’d make one mistake and all of a sudden it was tied. I don’t know why, but we never could gain a sense of urgency after that. It’s frustrating.”
Cumberland Gap had a chance to break the 3-3 tie in the 56th minute, but Collett had a kick bounce off the goal.
Two minutes later Jessica Bentley hit what became the game-winning goal for Northview.
The final 22 minutes consisted of several shots on goal by Cumberland Gap, but Northview held the Lady Panthers at bay.
“We helped their goalkeeper,” said Kimbrough. “We kicked it right to her. She didn’t have to move. She just had to put her hands up. I would’ve liked to have seen her have to take a step or two at least.”
The Lady Panthers later traveled to Greeneville for another District 2 match-up with the defending state champs.
“You can’t know what it’s like to be the best if you never play the best,” said Kimbrough. “You’ve got to see it and we’re going to see it, one way or another.”