Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Wesleyan Hope Morgan (20) celebrates with her teammates Christina Moraitis (15), Katie Williams (9) and Diane Torres (10) after defeating Providence in a shootout during high school girls soccer action at Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn on Tuesday.
LILBURN -- Tuesday's Area 4-A soccer doubleheader between Providence Christian and Wesleyan featured plenty of reversals of fortune.
The teams that lost in the earlier meeting between the schools this season won this time around in almost the identical manner.
And while it took the girls teams until very late in their game to find the back of the net, the boys teams struck early.
After a scoreless regulation and two overtimes, Wesleyan's No. 8 state-ranked girls got a clutch save from Hannah Duane and a goal by Hope Morgan in the final round of penalty kicks to upend host and fifth-ranked Providence 1-0.
In the boys game, Caleb McQuaig scored just over five minutes in and assisted on another goal less than two minutes later, and the fourth-ranked Stars withstood an early second-half goal by Wesleyan to hold off the fifth-ranked Wolves for a 2-1 victory.
The win by Wesleyan's girls (6-6-1, 3-4) moved the Wolves past Providence (9-5, 2-4) into third place in the area standings and avenged a 2-1 loss to the Stars in a penalty kick shootout on March 9.
"We would like to have ended it in regulation," Wesleyan coach Lacy Gilbert said. "I feel like we had tons of chances, especially in the second half. ... But at the same time, it's good practice for us. We've been working on (penalty kicks). You never know when you're going to get to PKs."
And the game made it to the shootout after a solid defensive battle throughout regular and the two overtimes.
And both goalkeepers came up big midway through the second half, with Duane corralling a hard free kick from 30 yards out by Brooke Kelly in the 19th minute of the half, while Providence's Jessie Kowalewicz countering by smothering a low show from Maddie Hall six minutes later.
But in the shootout, Wesleyan got the first breaks when Kelly's first shot clanged off the crossbar, and Duane leapt to her right to punch out Anna Bougas' second-round attempt, leaving the Wolves on top 2-0 after Darby Coxhead and Katie Williams each found the mark.
But Lauren Hoyt matched Diane Torres' goal in the third round, and Kowalewicz gave Providence a boost by stopping Christina Moraitis in the fourth round.
That allowed Katharine Slayton and Julie Trawick to pull the Stars even at 3-3, setting up Morgan's attempt to close out the fifth round.
The freshman noticed Kowalewicz had pretty much been on the previous three rounds, and decided to throw the Providence keeper a change-up.
"Every day in practice, we practice PKs. So I knew I had to stay calm and know where to place the ball and go with your gut," Morgan said. "I knew there were three other shots that went to (Kowalewicz's) left. So, I went to her right."
And Morgan's shot to Kowalewicz's right sailed inside the near post to give Wesleyan the win.
Like the Wesleyan girls, the Providence boys (8-7, 5-2) avenged an earlier loss in the series after falling to Wesleyan (8-4-1, 4-3) by an identical 2-1 score March 9.
Unlike the girls game, however, goals came fast and furious during the early moments of each half.
The Stars got on the board just 5:14 after the opening kickoff by cashing in on some good fortune when Wesleyan goalkeeper Carter Flachbarth slipped while coming off his line to make a play on a ball sent into the penalty area.
That allowed McQuaig to speed in from the right wing and sent a shot across the goal box and inside the back post to put Providence up 1-0. Just 1:40 later at the 33:06 mark, McQuaig keyed another scoring play -- this time, sending a long ball up the middle that Josh Platillero ran down and popped over a charging Flachbarth and into the net, making the Stars' lead 2-0.
"That was probably the best 10- to 15-minute stretch we've had (in a while)," Providence coach Todd Henry said. "We just connected. Caleb is coming off a broken ankle (earlier this year). This is just his sixth or seventh game back and he's just now getting to where he can be."
But after the two early goals, Wesleyan tightened up, and the Wolves countered with a goal in the opening two minutes of the second half.
Some nifty footwork sent Eric Sunderman on a run up the middle before dropping off a pass to Zac MacKenzie, who then sent Drew Sutton on a run down the left wing before he pulled up and sent a crossing shot that deflected off the near post and in, pulling the Wolves to within 2-1 with 38:13 still remaining.
But with Wesleyan holding territorial control much of the second half, Providence was able to stay on top. A couple of throw-ins by Sunderman to Cole Warren within a two-minute stretch midway through the second half just missed, with the first being deflected by Stars' goalkeeper Evan Flowers and the second sailing just over the crossbar.
And Wesleyan's last opportunity came up short as Sutton collided with Flowers going after a long ball just inside the penalty area as the buzzer sounded, which drew a red card for the Wesleyan senior midfielder.