“The game, pretty much, was a defensive battle the whole time,” said Sequoyah boys coach John Zonin, who coached in lieu of Bill Dillon, who was serving a one-game suspension for his ejection from Monday’s 2-1 loss to Cherokee. “Our defense did one heck of a job for us. Colby LeFever came up big for us, obviously, in the (penalty kick) rounds. She saved three. You pretty much couldn’t ask for anything more out of her.
“But it was a total team effort. We just didn’t get what we needed to up top, but, pretty much, the girls came through.”
Sequoyah (3-6-1, 3-2) was helped by a great defensive effort on the back line by Kiersten Dickson and Denise Leyvah, who each had to mark the bigger and faster tandem of Forsyth Central forwards Noel Samples and Tori Hood.
However, it was LeFever who made several of the game’s most critical plays.
LeFever stopped three penalty shots and saw Forsyth Central’s final penalty attempt sail high. But the best save of the night may not have been in the penalty rounds at all.
In the 80th minute, the ball found Hood on a breakaway following a bad pass backward and a collision by a pair of Sequoyah defenders. With Hood bearing down on LeFever, she had to find a way to keep the game scoreless.
“Last year, we lost to (Forsyth Central) in double overtime off of (Hood’s) breakaway, which happened in the last 2 minutes,” LeFever said. “Last year, I went out, so, this year, I kind of went at her, then I staggered back and waited. I tried to scare her so she would take the shot wide.”
LeFever’s save at the end of regulation helped to set up the penalty shootout. On the seventh kick, Sequoyah’s Lauren Holland delivered the ball to the near corner past Forsyth Central’s diving goalkeeper, Shelby Kemptner.
“It brought the team together, and it was just the greatest feeling ever,” Holland said. “None of us knew the order, so we all went out there doing the best that we could. They tell you that you have to have confidence, but it’s the hardest thing ever — most nerve-wracking moment — but I just wanted to win.
“I look at the opposite corner, and then I kick it just to throw her off,” Holland said of her approach toward the penalty kick.
Before Holland ended up with the game-winning shot, the Lady Chiefs struggled to find the back of the net in regulation.
Dickson and forward Kristin Clegg were able to set up Sequoyah with several free kicks in the box to create scoring chances, but Sequoyah was unable to find the final touch in the box. In the 65th minute, forward Jordan Kohn, who was active in creating her own chances throughout the game, was able to pick up a lob ball past Forsyth Central’s defense and tapped the ball over Kemptner.
The shot, however, hit off the right post, bounced back into play and was covered by Kemptner.
Regardless of whether or not Sequoyah was able to find the final touch Friday, it was clear that the Lady Chiefs wanted this win badly.
“It was a good game,” LeFever said. “I’m glad that we got those PK saves and scored. We really needed this win.”