After 96 minutes, Lawrence High junior Megan Johnson did what Mother Nature unsuccessfully attempted to do -- end the city girls soccer showdown.
Johnson's goal in the second overtime period lifted the Lions to a 1-0 victory over the Firebirds on Tuesday night at the Youth Sports Inc. fields, improving the Lions' record to 2-1 and matching their win total from the entire 2004 season.
When the dust -- and the threatening lightning in the distance -- finally settled, it would be an understatement to say LHS had to dig deep for this one.
"It wasn't just me, because we all played hard and we all worked extremely hard," Johnson said. "I think we really deserved it."
After an ugly first half, the Lions kept the ball on the Firebird end of the field for most of the second half. LHS sophomore Abby Vestal had four shots on goal in the second half and each went either wide or high, keeping the game scoreless heading into overtime. At that point, gusting winds began to favor the team shooting at the west goal, which was LHS in the second half and second overtime.
"It was just one of those situations where if you keep giving them opportunities, the likelihood is that eventually one's gonna get poked in the net," Free State coach Jason Pendleton said.
Six minutes into the second overtime, Free State goalkeeper Hrenchir dove for an approaching ball in the box. Johnson took a swipe at it, slightly catching Hrenchir in the neck with her right foot after striking the ball. The two players collapsed, but the ball trickled into the net and the LHS bench emptied in jubilation.
The Firebirds fell to 0-2 while the Lions, under first-year coach Jason Clark, survived two referee conferences on whether to call the game.
"We didn't want them to call it," Johnson said. "We really wanted to stick it out and play through it. I think we're all really glad how it played out."