The Warren East girls’ soccer team closed the regular season with eight straight wins, but the streak – and season – appeared likely to come to a close when Itzel Falcon-Perez snuck a shot past Abbey Minor to give Warren Central a 2-0 lead midway through the second half Monday in the opening game of the District 14 Tournament at Drakes Creek Middle School.

But the Lady Raiders found life, netting two goals in the final 12 minutes to force overtime, when, in the second period, Chloe Grayson scored to give Warren East a 3-2 victory.

“In the beginning of the game, we allowed the frantic pace Central was setting to get into us, we weren’t communicating with each other, we weren’t connecting passes. We really got caught up in it and everything was just kind of back-and-forth very much,” Warren East coach William Eller said. “That last 12 minutes we were able to get on the ball and have a better idea on the way we wanted to attack things.”

Warren East got on the board with 11:55 left when Hailey Hymer received a short pass and put a shot into the top right corner of the goal on a play initially started on the Lady Raiders fourth corner kick of the match.

The tying goal came with under 5:30 to play after Sydney Moutardier was taken down in the box. Moutardier took the penalty kick and she put it to the right of Warren Central goalkeeper Stacey Edgar to even the game at 2-all.

“I was freaking out. My legs were shaking. I was talking to Hailey – the other one that scored – and I was like, ‘Hailey, can you please take this PK?’ “ Moutardier said. “She was like, ‘No, you’re doing it.’ I went up there and I did it and I made it.”

The teams traded chances in the first overtime period, with the best coming from Sumea Alic in the closing seconds. The sophomore – who scored the first goal in the 30th minute by chipping a shot over Minor – put a shot just wide of the goal.

Warrren East leading scorer Lucy Patterson had the first look at a ball crossed into the box two minutes into the second overtime period. She deflected it slightly to the back post, where Grayson got just enough of the ball to get it over the line for the victory.

“I was a little shocked,” Grayson said. “But I was overall happy that I got a win for my team.”

Warren Central lost the regular-season meeting 3-0 on Sept. 19 but held a 2-0 lead midway through the second half thanks to the goals from Alic and Falcon-Perez, plus a solid defensive performance from a team that knew what to look for from the Warren East offense.

“I’m proud of them. They fought really hard,” Warren Central coach Angelia Miller said. “I think our girls went into that game when they had lost earlier this season and they didn’t take it as seriously, they weren’t as mentally focused, and they definitely came out tonight mentally focused and just had a lapse there at the end.”

Falcon-Perez scored on a slow roller misplayed by Minor, but the freshman goalkeeper bounced back to come up with several key saves in the closing minutes and overtime. She finished with seven on the evening.

“For her confidence after letting that one slide under, I’m sure that was a big boost for her. She’s a freshman, first-year varsity player in the goal and she’s been big for us all year,” Eller said. “She’s growing into a better and better player, so I’m glad she was able to rebound after that.”

The win is the ninth in a row for the Lady Raiders, who now have an overall record of 14-5-0. Warren East will face top-seeded Greenwood on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The Lady Gators won the regular-season meeting 10-0.

Warren Central closes the season at 6-7-1.{&end}

– Follow sports reporter Jared MacDonald on Twitter @JMacDonaldSport or visit bgdailynews.com.

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