Republic forced overtime with just eight seconds remaining in regulation, but a sudden-death goal allowed Ozark to escape with a 3-2 victory at Republic Tuesday. The teams hurried through 98 minutes of play, shortening halftime and the breaks between overtime periods to finish the game ahead of an approaching lightning storm, but with two minutes remaining in the second overtime period, Ozark scored on a corner kick to clinch the win.
Republic had seemed to seize the momentum as regulation ended, mounting charge after charge––then finally putting the ball in the net with just eight seconds left on the clock. Anna Jones tied the score ahead of the final buzzer, forcing the overtime period.
“I thought it showed that we just don’t quit,” said coach Kevin Hauck of the late comeback. “This team has faced so much adversity all season and we’ve never stopped. We’ve never given up. We’ve never quit. And we just keep fighting and battling.
“The girls showed such great grit out there. It’s amazing. And so a lot of high energy, I think, going into our final game of the season, and hopefully we can take that momentum going into districts.”
Republic had taken a 1-0 lead on a goal by Emma Pearce in the 26th minute. Pearce scored on an assist by Abbie Hicks, who made the play happen by hustling to a contested free kick near the top of the box and playing the ball ahead to Pearce.
Republic held the lead at halftime, but two minutes into the second half, Ozark tied the game with a shot that hit the crossbar, deflected to the turf, and crossed the goal line. Just four minutes after that, Ozark took a 2-1 lead with another shot that sailed over the reach of Republic goalkeeper Bella Drennan.
The loss dropped Republic to 15-8 with one game remaining in the regular season.