By Jeremy Stafford - firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENS CITY -- The swing of emotion a player experiences from being down a goal with seven minutes left to play, to squeezing out a 3-2 win over a district rival, as Sherando did against Millbrook on Tuesday evening, is immeasurable.
Sherando senior Lainie Weadon, who scored Sherando's go-ahead goal in the 77th minute, tried to measure the feeling with words like "crazy" and "scary."
Junior Kathleen Teets, who scored her first two goals of the season in the win, used phrases like "pretty insane" and "a lot of fun" as measuring sticks.
Warriors coach Robert Kilmer shook his head and laughed. There really is no way of gauging the swarm of thoughts and feelings and assumptions which ebb and flow in that kind of situation.
There's only a way of handling it.
"You gotta believe," Kilmer said, still smiling. "Good teams find a way to win, and they did it, they found a way to win.
"It's heart, and you gotta believe -- it's a combination of the two."
In recent matches, Weadon has been just as necessary an element.
She scored the game-tying goal in the 73rd minute of a match against Kettle Run, and she scored twice last week against James Wood.
With nary a minute remaining until the final injury time Tuesday, Sherando senior Brittini Dennis sent Weadon a cross from the left corner. Weadon's first shot ricocheted off a Millbrook defender; her second shot kissed the net.
"It's scary, actually, when there's [seven] minutes left -- it puts so much pressure on us," Weadon said. "Coach always tells us, the last five minutes, no matter what, work your hardest."
She let out a deep, relieving sigh: "It was big."
Teets was more excited than relieved: You only get to score your first goal once, after all.
"It was pretty insane," she said. "... Sherando's a family, basically -- we all talk on and off the field, we're all really close -- and when we bring that out on the field, we just mesh together.
"It feels great."
Teets' first goal, in the 17th minute, was initially played by sophomore Morgan Sirbaugh. After Millbrook keeper Olivia Mason tipped a Weadon corner kick out of the air, Sirbaugh played the ball off her stomach. The ball crossed the goal line, but the referee gave no indication of a scored goal.
When Teets whistled Sirbaugh's ghost-goal into the right corner, the indication came.
But even as Teets described Sherando as a family, she and the rest of the Warriors watched as an extension of the Sherando family trudged off the Warriors' pitch with a Pioneers' loss.
Millbrook head coach Stephanie Gladden, a former Sherando star under Kilmer, was visibly thrilled to coach against her former team, yet ostensibly flustered that her team had trouble clearing the ball out of its defensive third.
"We had more than enough opportunities to win this game -- and we were up," Gladden said, "It's just our defense fell short.
"They played great, but they fell short on that on ability to clear a ball out."
Millbrook took the lead in the 55th minute on a penalty kick by Hallie Obleas. Otherwise, the Pioneers took only six shots to the Warriors' 15.