By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports
The last of Audrey Jordan’s three goals was the only score after halftime Thursday night, and it lifted Caddo Magnet to a 3-2 triumph over Benton in a battle of top-ranked state powers paired in a showdown for the Division II, District 1 girls soccer championship.
Toni Sapp provided two assists for the second-ranked winners, with Merritt Hughes notching the other one. Magnet keeper Addison Tipton had six saves.
Fifth-ranked Benton got goals from Natalie Brice and Jenevieve Willis, with assists by Lexy Bouillon and Abigal Jacobs. Kennedy Nipper recorded eight saves for the Lady Tigers.
The game was played on a cool, clear night at Freedom Fields in Bossier City. It started fast, and never slowed down, with the ball going up and down the field on quick passes and runs by both teams’ forwards.
In the 18th minute Benton’s Bouillon crossed the ball past a couple players for each team, and a charging Brice collected it and hit a line drive into the net from 25 yards out.
In the 25th minute the Lady Mustangs’ Sapp hit a 40-yard through ball that Jordan chased down and beat Nipper for the equalizer.
With 5 minutes left in the half Benton’s Jacobs shot from distance and it was deflected by Tipton. Willis caught up with the loose ball and put the Lady TIgers back on top 2-1. Just before the halftime whistle, Sapp played another long through ball that Jordan again chased down, and she finished to tie it up at 2. The score and the flow of play was even.
The second half played out similar to the first, other than Magnet having more possession and opportunities. The flow of play remained extremely fast, with more chances.
In the 8th minute, Jordan broke free with the ball and headed to the net hoping to put the Lady Mustangs on top. Benton’s Nipper came off her line, slid through Jordan, and snatched the ball for the save of the game.
A couple minutes later, Magnet converted for the game-winner. Hughes passed to Jordan whose shot deflected off the diving Nipper and found the net.
As time was winding down, Lady Tiger defender Jaime Willis, with her state title-level speed, started moving forward with the ball in a bid to tie. That got the attention of the Lady Mustangs’ whole backline as she pressed.
With three minutes left, Benton had its best chance, when a communication error left Bouillon in the box with the ball and only Alayna Howell and Tipton to defend. After a mad scramble for the ball, it went just wide of the post, and time soon expired on a great championship battle by both teams.
In the boys contest, Benton defeated Magnet 3-1, claiming the Division II, District 1 championship.
Other midweek girls results:
Calvary captured the Division IV, District 1 championship by beating North Caddo 7-0. Calvary’s goals were by Carson Davis (2), Addison Stevenson (2), Ava Colvin, Pamela Lee and Elizabeth Lee.
Loyola blanked Bossier 8-0 with goals from Kennedy Jarrett (3), Isabell Black (2), Leslie Johnson, Emmaline Drummond and Riya Ahuja.
Airline finished its regular season with a 2-1 win over North DeSoto, with Jaicee McIntyre finding the net twice. Assists for both goals were provided by Jewell Molina. Catherine Webber had five saves in goal.
In other action, Evangel beat Southwood 6-0, and Haughton and Minden played to a scoreless draw.
Photo by DREAMER THORN