The Hartselle Lady Tigers celebrate a goal by Cara Beth Nelson. Pictured left to right are Addison Button, Maddy Henry, Allie Beatty, Cara Beth Nelson, Kylie French,  and Camille Speering. 

Lady Tigers advance to second round of playoffs

By Russ Gordon

For the Enquirer

The Hartselle girls varsity soccer team defeated Ft. Payne 3-2 in the first game of the state playoffs April 25. On the following night, the boys playoff hopes came to an end with a bitter loss to Gadsden City, 4-1. 

Hartselle 3, Ft. Payne 2 

Sophomore Cara Beth Nelson scored the first of her two goals in the game after 30 minutes of alternating offense and defense. She received an assist from senior Camille Speering to take a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Ft. Payne tied the game 1-1, and the remaining five minutes saw no further scoring.  

Fifteen minutes into the second stanza, Ft. Payne struck to take a 2-1 lead over the homestanding Lady Tigers. They did not have much time to celebrate, because Nelson got her brace 22 seconds later with an assist from Adelynn Mitchell, a junior varsity freshman who was pulled up for the post season, to tie the game 2-2. Regulation time expired with the 2-2 deadlock, taking the game into overtime.  

High school soccer overtimes are 5-minute ‘sudden death’ periods. The first score in overtime is known as the ‘golden goal’ and the game is over. Just 57 seconds into the overtime period, senior Kylie French set up senior Allie Beatty for the golden goal to win the game and propel the Tigers on to the second round of the playoffs. By the time of this publication, the second-round game with Hartselle hosting Decatur will be decided (April 29). Hartselle (12-4-3) has already beaten Decatur (8-12-1) 2-0 in area 14 play this season.  

Hartselle 1, Gadsden City 4 

After a 3-1 drubbing by Hartselle a year ago in the 6A playoffs, the Gadsden City Titans (17-3-1) returned to Hartselle (12-7-2) last week with revenge on their minds. But 15 minutes into the first half, Owen Bennich scored a goal for Hartselle on a free kick just outside of the goal box precipitated by a handball infraction. The kick was so laser-like accurate that the very athletic Gadsden goalie didn’t have time to attempt a block. 1-0. Two minutes later, Gadsden scored to tie the game 1-1, and four minutes after that, scored again to take a 2-1 halftime lead over the Tigers. The Titans scored twice in the second half. It was an emotional loss, especially for the graduating seniors, many of whom have been coached by head coach Dan Bennich for nine years. 

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