PARKERSBURG -From a keeper's vantage point at the opposite end of the field, there was no doubt her teammate Sydney Lavengood was going to convert her shot on goal in the second overtime of Thursday's Class AAA, Region I final played at Parkersburg High School's Stadium Field.
After all, Lavengood was due.
With the match still scoreless, the senior captain from nationally-ranked Morgantown High School provided the eventual game-winner against Wheeling Park a mere 33 seconds into the second 10-minute extra session off an assist from Natasha Trott.
"I could see that goal coming from a mile away," Morgantown keeper Erika Yohn said after her squad posted their 20th shutout of the season. "She had been working so hard the entire game."
The 1-0 victory not only improved the Mohigans' record to 22-0-1, but also kept their hopes alive for a possible second straight state title. They return to the YMCA Youth Sports Complex in Beckley for the state semifinal round on Friday, Nov. 2.
"I told the girls at start of the postseason, from here on out it's a battle every single game," Morgantown coach Ashley Neal said. "I know we have George Washington next, which is a great team that we just faced a week and a half ago. They are very talented-we were on our home field, which was turf so it's just going to be a completely different game.
"That first match doesn't mean anything. Regular season is over and it's postseason now."
In the regional final, coach Neal figured Wheeling Park would give her girls its best shot. And the Patriots, who lost 2-0 to the Mohigans during their only regular-season meeting, did not disappoint.
Wheeling Park's best scoring opportunity in the first half occurred with 25 minutes still remaining before intermission. After Morgantown was whistled for a handball, the Patriots' Meghan Horan set up for the free kick 2 yards outside the box.
The shot attempt cleared the Mohigans' man-made wall and Yohn gathered in the save just above waist-high level.
Morgantown, in turn, nearly took advantage of a Wheeling Park mistake six minutes later when Mohigan junior Mazie Cheesebrough's attempt on a direct kick was almost headed into the net by a Patriot defender. Wheeling Park keeper Devyn Nickerson was able to reach high with both hands and recorded the save.
In the early stages of the second half, Wheeling Park flirted with a couple of scoring chances before Morgantown's defense went on lock down. Yohn did not see any resemblance of a shot attempt for nearly a 25-minute span.
"To tell you the truth (the reason why we've allowed just three goals this season), it's not me," Yohn admitted. "Look at my saves, and you can tell it's my defense. They are solid. They clean up everything and get in great position covering for each other.
"It's all communication. I don't really have to do much, and that's great. That's the secret."
With regulation ending in a scoreless tie, another 10 minutes of overtime resulted in nothing being solved as well. That changed almost in an instant in the second overtime when Trott took over a loose ball just inside midfield in Wheeling Park territory.
The senior delivered the pass to Lavengood in stride, and moments later Lavengood directed her kick to the far side of the net. The Wheeling Park keeper never laid a hand on the only goal of the night.
Morgantown kept the heat up with several more attacks and prevented the Patriots from attempting another shot on goal for the final 9:27.
"That was a really good pass by my best friend, Natasha," Lavengood said. "We've played together since fifth grade and we know how fast each other are, and it was just a really good ball."
Wheeling Park, which won two sectional matches in overtime, ends the campaign at 11-6-2.
"We did extremely well," Wheeling Park coach Aubrey Taylor said. "We love playing against this Morgantown team - they bring out the best in us. It was a well-played game and it was great to see our girls put in such a great effort."