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The Knights were up 2-1 before Mayzie Lewis returned to score two goals after getting a yellow card for contact.
JOHN WIMMER | Special to The Roanoke Times
Stuarts Draft’s Annaliese Hoy (left) and James River’s Lauren Fleming keep pressure on each other during Saturday’s Group A semifinals in Salem on Saturday. The game was moved from Radford due to wet fields.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Not often does a player enjoy being booked.
But for Stuarts Draft’s girls soccer team, it departed Salem on Saturday evening feeling it was the reason the team is heading to the Group A state championship game.
Down 2-1 to James River in the second half, star forward Mayzie Lewis was awarded a yellow card for physical contact. Lewis was substituted and came back on moments later mad as can be. At that moment, everyone learned that you don’t fill Lewis with anger.
The senior bagged two goals in the final 20 minutes, including one with five minutes to go, as the Cougars edged the Knights 3-2 at Salem High School to advance to today’s final at noon at Radford University against George Mason.
“I can’t explain how mad I was,” Lewis said. “It was both ways. That lit a fire under my butt.”
The game was frantic and physical throughout, with loads of space for the midfielders and attackers to keep the ball moving.
With the game moved to Salem due to the wet fields at Radford, the turf played to the advantage of the speedy Draft squad.
20 minutes into the game, Cougars sophomore Emily Hoy curled in a corner kick to the front post which was not cleared by defender Rachel Asbury and flew into her own net, giving Draft a 1-0 lead, which it held at the half.
In the second half, the Knights were a distinct bunch from the first half, playing more composed and to their strengths. With six minutes gone, junior Dana Fair curled in a cross from the left that found Valentina Donnini at the far post, which the sophomore forward buried home.
Then, a failed clearance nearly doomed the Cougars.
After goalie McKenna Carter made a save that hit off the crossbar, Alexandra Wolfe was somehow able to find the loose ball at the far post and knock it in to give James River a 2-1 lead.
It looked like the Cougars would see defeat, but Lewis would have none of it.
She received the motivation she needed. With tension high and the game getting more physical by the second, Lewis got that yellow card. Words flew from her mouth as she took a seat on the bench.
When she returned, she got behind the defense thanks to a perfect pass from Erin Clifton and finished forcefully into the lower-left side of the goal from the ride side of the box with 13 minutes to play.
Then Lewis attacked again from the same side, slipping by the defense on a through ball from Rayah Martin, finishing near post for the go-ahead goal.
For James River, the chance to advance to the final slipped away.
“I just don’t know,” said Knights coach Giuseppe D’Arpa about what went wrong.
“This one is hard to swallow. I have a strong group of girls. All credit to them. They played a great game. … The easy goals are the ones that hurt the most. We fought hard.”
James River’s season ends with an 15-6 record. Draft
(19-3) will take on George Mason, which it lost to in the Region B title game, at noon.
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