It was the third that meant the most as the Lady Knights beat Chamblee 7-4.
DeSantis, who scored twice in the first half, added some much-needed insurance with 9:46 left in the game, when she was fed by Alexis Lewis to put River Ridge (12-6) up 6-4.
The Lady Knights took a 4-0 lead into the second half. Allison Clarke-Hall made the advantage 5-0 when she scored on a penalty kick less than 6 minutes later. But Chamblee (11-7) climbed back into the game with four unanswered goals — three of which came during an 8-minute span of the second half.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed 5-2 when Tyler Johnson took a long shot from near midfield on a free kick. River Ridge goalkeeper Rachel Peterson tried to punch the ball over the goal, but she failed. The shot at 17:25 in the second half gave Chamblee momentum, and when Ally Jones scored off a corner kick 5 minutes later, the deficit was down to one.
That’s when DeSantis stepped up.
After receiving a pass from Lewis, she pushed the ball up the field. Leaping over Chamblee goalkeeper Trenae Ferrell, DeSantis took a shot, and it cleanly found the back of the net.
The teams battled evenly and exchanged shots before Maddie Brooks put the final shot on goal with 28 seconds left on a free kick.
River Ridge coach Sarah Goodbread was pleased her players did enough to advance.
“The second half was closer than it should have been,” Goodbread said. “But I’m proud of the girls for pulling through and not giving up when it got close.”
River Ridge dominated the first half. Shannon Driscoll scored off a rebounded shot by DeSantis to put the Lady Knights on the board 6 minutes into the game.
Goodbread said the goal by Driscoll gave the girls some confidence.
“That was huge,” the coach said. “It installed some confidence in us and I think at that point we were able to relax and play our game that we are capable of playing.”
DeSantis scored the next two goals. The first was a wide-open shot set up by Chanel Mosley. On the second, DeSantis shook several defenders after taking a nice lead from Brooks with 9:04 left in the half
Lewis made it 4-0 when she fought through the Lady Bulldog defense for an unassisted goal.
Peterson finished the game with 11 saves for the Lady Knights, who put 37 shots of their own on goal.
River Ridge will play in the second round Tuesday against an opponent to be determined. As the No. 2 seed from Region 7AAAA, the Lady Knights will travel to 8AAAA champion Lanier.