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Spencer girls win district soccer title

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By John Shindlebower

A district title has eluded the Spencer County Lady Bears' soccer program since the inception of the program, so the extra wait during two overtime periods and a shootout in Wednesday night's 3-1 victory over Anderson County for the 30th District Championship just made victory a little sweeter.

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Anderson County played the underdog role as well as possible, hustling and holding Spencer County, the region's highest scoring team, scoreless as the teams battled to a 0-0 tie in the first half. Anderson County controlled the ball most of the first period and nearly scored a couple of times, but good defensive plays by Spencer County kept the ball out of the goal. At one point late in the first half, Anderson County had the ball in front of the Lady Bears' goal, with Spencer County goalie Jasmine Thomas on the ground after diving for a stop. A Lady Bearcat found the ball, kicked it toward the goal, and only a last-second kick by Spencer County's Megan Lancaster kept it out of the net.
Thomas continued to keep Anderson off the scoreboard with a good save 10 minutes into the second half and Spencer County struggled to get many good looks at the goal on the other end. However, that changed in the final 12 minutes of regulation as Spencer County's Madison Ratchford, the state's fourth leading scorer, got three break-away opportunities down the stretch. Anderson County's goalie was able to make the plays however, as the teams finished the second half still scoreless.
Under a steady rain that began falling in the second half, the teams then completed two scoreless five-minute overtime periods. Anderson had an opportunity to take the game and the title with just over two minutes left in the second overtime as they had a penalty kick that sailed just high and over the goal.
Still tied 0-0 after the second overtime, the two teams had a shootout, with five players from each team getting a shot at a free kick against the opposing goalie. The teams alternated kicks and the first Anderson County attempt went wide right. Spencer County's Hannah Jaggers was good on her attempt to give the Lady Bears a 1-0 lead. Anderson County made its second attempt, but Spencer County's Taylor Brian answered it to make it 2-1. The third shot by Anderson was caught by Thomas, meaning Ratchford had a chance to score the third and winning goal, which she did, sending the Lady Bears onto the field for a celebration that had been a long time coming.
Spencer County's Allie Stevens, Thomas, Jaggers and Ratchford were all named to the District All-Tournament team and the Lady Bears will now await a draw on Saturday to determine their opponent for the 8th Region Tournament that will begin early next week. As winners of the 30th District, the Lady Bears will get to host the first game, possibly on Monday. Stay tuned to the Magnet website to learn details of the Region Tournament schedule.