By Robert Edmonds - email@example.com
FRONT ROYAL -- The cross-county rivalry heated up quickly when Warren County hosted Skyline in girls soccer on Wednesday night. Both teams battled fiercely in a physical matchup that came down to the final minutes of regulation.
It was the Wildcats who managed to outlast the Hawks, however, scoring two goals with just over two minutes left to play to break the tie and pull out the victory, 3-1.
"You have to give Skyline a lot of credit," Wildcats coach Mike Carpenter said. "They fought back after giving up that early goal. I am also very impressed with our ladies. They worked together and stayed with their game. They were patient and in the end it paid off."
Warren County drew first blood early when Marta Patricio scored on the receiving end of a corner kick from Kelly Martin at 33:39 in the first half. Patricio found herself again with an opportunity later in the half, but it was Hawks goalkeeper Chelsey Hackney to the rescue as she made a fearless stop to keep the game in reach.
The two teams continued the intense match, battling back and forth with both goalkeepers playing solidly and not allowing their opponents to reach the net for the rest of the first half.
As the second half opened, it was apparent that Skyline intended to make a point offensively as they attacked from the start. Wildcats goalkeeper Haley Mills time and time again made the stop as she recorded 10 saves on the night.
"Haley [Mills] stepped up and played a good game," Carpenter said.
With opportunities abounding, the Hawks finally struck paydirt when senior Katie Callihan out-raced a Wildcats defender and found the back of the net to even the score.
"We had some good opportunities to score tonight," Hawks coach John Moore said. "We just weren't able to finish. That is something we have to work on. We do well with our basics and fundamentals, but we didn't finish."
With time running down, the Wildcats increased their aggressiveness. On two separate occasions Martin found herself one-on-one with the goalie, but each time her kick sailed high. With 2:08 left, Patricio made an opportunistic play after a Hawks defender misplayed the ball. The sophomore scored her second goal when she sent a shot against the grain and under Hackney to give her team the go-ahead goal.
"We played with a lot of heart," Carpenter said. "We played the ball well and just stayed with it. Our girls get a lot of props. Marta [Patricio] was just gassed at the end of the game. She always gives her all and she came up big for us tonight."
"I am pleased. We worked together as a team," Moore said. "We have done well in practice with passing and attacking. We just have to transition that to our games."
As play continued, the Wildcats solidified their win when Martin recorded a score with a blast to the top left corner of the net, sending the home crowd into a frenzy as Warren County retained bragging rights in the county.