By Brad Fauber
STRASBURG -- Not much can slow down Warren County senior Kelsea Potts on the soccer pitch right now -- not opposing defenses, and certainly not an ailing left leg.
Potts briefly left Wednesday's Bull Run District girls soccer match against host Strasburg after injuring her knee and ankle on a Rams slide tackle, but the senior returned to deal the decisive blow in the Wildcats' eventual 3-2 overtime victory.
"I figured we had like nine minutes left, so I may as well push it. We were tied, I wanted to do everything for my team that I could," Potts said.
Potts, who scored five goals in Tuesday's win against Madison County and tallied all three of Warren County's goals on Wednesday, exited the match against Strasburg with a visible limp with about 12 minutes remaining in the second half and returned about five minutes later with the score tied at 2-2 before the match went into overtime.
In the first overtime period, Potts broke the tie with her third goal of the match. Wildcats sophomore Courtney L'Amoreaux started the scoring sequence as she sent the ball into the penalty box on a corner kick. The ball was kicked around for several seconds as Strasburg scrambled to clear it, but Warren County junior Zan LaPierre was able to poke the ball to Potts, who was standing about 10 yards in front of the goal. Potts fired into the left side of the net to break the tie with about two minutes remaining.
"I tried to pull out a little bit because I knew it was going to pop out somewhere. I was lucky that it came to me," Potts said. "I knew it was right in front of the goal. I had kind of a blind shot because there was a defender right there, so I didn't really get to see it until afterwards."
Warren County held the Rams without a shot for the entire overtime to hang on for the victory.
"At overtime we got together and they just were very calm and relaxed and they just said, 'Let's go get it,'" Wildcats coach Mike Carpenter said. "It was the most relaxed overtime huddle meeting. The leaders stepped up and said, 'This is what we're going to do,' and they went out and did it."
The Wildcats (4-1, 4-1 Bull Run) looked as though they were going to run away with the match early, as Potts scored on breakaway goals in the ninth minute and the 26th minute to give Warren County a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
But Strasburg (0-5, 0-5) -- which started four freshmen and three sophomores on Wednesday -- finally found a working on-field combination late in the first half and rode that momentum into the second.
Freshman Amelia Guthrie ended the Rams' three-match scoreless streak in the 54th minute as she connected on a lining shot from the top of the box off an assist by junior Virginia Washington. Strasburg sophomore Holly Haley then tied the match at 2-2 in the 65th minute as she sent a shot from right to left from inside the box that found the back of the net.
"I felt like our girls played an excellent second half. I'm super excited about what happened tonight because we did have two of our starters missing," Rams coach Katherine Klus said.
"We had some great combination plays today and we've been focusing on working from the back, out of the back. The intensity of the girls, I think, really accelerated that, and from watching it you could tell that they had that today."
Freshman keeper Haley Bischoff finished with four saves for Strasburg, while Warren County junior Abbey O'Mara had three saves.
The Wildcats held a 19-9 advantage in shots, although much of that differential came in the first half as Warren County out-shot Strasburg 9-4 in the opening 40 minutes.
"I told them at the beginning of the game don't underestimate a team," Carpenter said. "... I told them to go out there and work together as they usually do. We came out with a good lead, and then I don't know what happened. Give Strasburg credit, they had a long road trip last night [at William Monroe] and they hung in there and they fought back."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD