Lions clinch match with Golden Goal

Briarwood Christian School junior forward Savannah Penny battles a Southside-Gadsden defender for possession of the ball in the Lions' 4-3 win in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A playoffs May 1. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY — The Briarwood Christian School girls’ soccer team began its quest for a ninth state championship with a dramatic 4-3 win over Southside High School of Gadsden in double overtime in its Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A playoff opener May 1.

Catherine Cowen netted the Golden Goal with 1:44 remaining in the second overtime.

The Lions jumped out to a 2-1 lead following the first half in the first-round match.

Sara Drew Mulvaney netted a rebound shot off a corner kick assist by Savannah Penny with 27:01 remaining in the first half to give Briarwood Christian a 1-0 lead.

The Lions pushed their lead to 2-0 following Hannah Hutson’s breakaway goal with 15:20 left in the first half. Cowen recorded an assist on the goal.

Southside-Gadsden cut the deficit to 2-1 at halftime after netting a goal in the final 10 minutes of the opening half.

Sara Smeltzer netted a goal with 17:33 remaining in the match, but Southside-Gadsden scored a pair of goals in the second half to send the playoff meeting between the two teams into overtime.

Cowen clinched the victory for the Lions with her 11th goal of the season in double overtime.

Briarwood Christian goalkeeper Haley Hawkins finished with 10 saves in regulation. Mulvaney replaced Hawkins for the two overtime sessions and finished with two saves.

The Lions will face Fort Payne in a Class 5A quarterfinal match May 5.