LITHIA — Newsome trailed 1-0 at halftime, but two minutes after play resumed, Lindsey Eaton had a breakaway.
The senior managed to slip by the George Jenkins defenders, which left her one-on-one with goalkeeper Haleigh Mercer. With just about all the time she needed, Eaton aimed and shot. But just like five of Newsome’s shots before it, the ball sailed over the crossbar.
As if it didn’t know its own strength, Newsome (17-0) was plagued by missed opportunities throughout the 5A-6 final, largely because of shots that had too much power behind them.
But in the 52nd minute, Eaton finally delivered for the Wolves to tie the score at 1, and a Peyton Smith goal in the 77th minute gave Newsome a 2-1 win and its second district title in three years.
“It was a relief, because I made up for the one I should have scored,” Eaton said about her goal, which she tapped in after a Karli Gutsche free kick. “It took a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Newsome dominated the game for most of the first half, taking shot after shot. Most of them missed the mark, and the ones that didn’t were saved by an aggressive Mercer.
“It was almost like a glass door was sitting on the goal,” Newsome coach Kelly Townsend said. “We couldn’t get in.”
Jenkins (7-5-4), on the other hand, didn’t need as many chances to get on the board, and they did so in the 35th minute when Chyenne Andrews got one past Newsome goalkeeper Madison Rowe, who had come out of the goal in an attempt to make the stop.
After Eaton tied it up with less than 30 minutes to play, Newsome outshot its opponent 10-4. As overtime loomed, Smith took a long shot from the left side to the opposite corner which whizzed right by a leaping Mercer for the winner.
In practice, Townsend said she makes her team pretend as if it is trailing, and the Wolves are given only a certain number of minutes to score goals. So when they had to do the real thing in the biggest game of the season so far, Townsend wasn’t worried.
“It doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says,” she said. “It only matters when it’s over.”