MT. PLEASANT - When Washington needed a boost Thursday, Trina Griffin stepped up big.
The Demons’ leading scorer put in two huge goals in a 2-1 Southeast Conference overtime win, tying the game up in the second half and sending the game-winner past Mt. Pleasant keeper Ayden Ross in extra time.
Mt. Pleasant controlled the first half, but just led 1-0 at the break. The only goal came from freshman Regan Seberg, who stole a throw-in from Demon keeper Olivia Pacha and popped it over her head to give Mt. Pleasant a 1-0 lead.
Although the Panthers had the halftime advantage, it could have been much worse. Mt. Pleasant saw chance after chance sent away by Pacha in the first half, as the Demons were able to stay close with the Panthers until it was time to strike.
Mt. Pleasant had the wind in the second half and continued to put on pressure, but every attempt was futile as Pacha made scrambling saves, leaping saves and diving saves off Mt. Pleasant rushes, and kept the Demons in the game until Griffin was able to knot the game up.
Griffin sprung free down the right side of the goal midway through the second half. She sent a hard shot toward the net that was blocked by Ross, but Griffin followed the rebound and put it in to make it a whole new ballgame, at 1-1 with 19 minutes, 26 seconds showing on the clock.
Mt. Pleasant had a few chances to take the lead back later in the period, with perhaps their best opportunity coming on a rocket off the foot of Mary West with 1:30 remaining, but Pacha leaped up and saved that shot to keep it knotted at 1-1.
The Panthers had a few more shots against Pacha early in the first overtime, but one of those chances turned into a quick restart the other way. Washington pushed the ball upfield and Griffin found herself behind the Mt. Pleasant defense with just the keeper to beat.
Ross made a sliding stop on a low shot from Griffin, but the ball deflected back off of Griffin and trickled over the line, giving Washington a stunning 2-1 win.
“They were just pushing it and playing as a team,” said Demon head coach Protacio Marcelino after the game. “I’m very proud of how they did. They played as a team, they were communicating and they played well.”
The Demon win played a big part in the Southeast Conference standings. Mt. Pleasant was one win away from wrapping up the SEC title, and now the Panthers are looking at a split with Ft. Madison unless the Bloodhounds drop one of their final two games.
“It’s unfortunate because we controlled the ball for the most part during that first overtime, and quite a bit of the game,” said Mt. Pleasant coach Brennan Williams. ”We had the chances, but you have to be able to finish them.”
The loss dropped Mt. Pleasant to 8-3 overall. They finished the conference season 6-2, with Ft. Madison currently sitting at 4-2, needing to beat Fairfield and Keokuk to earn a split of the title. The Panthers will be at the West Liberty tournament this weekend.
Washington (7-6, 4-3 SEC) could get second in the SEC with a little help from the rest of the league. Washington hosts Centerville Monday.