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Grizzlies fall in double OT heartbreaker

LAWRENCEVILLE — Playing in its third consecutive double-overtime contest, the Georgia Gwinnett women’s soccer team lost its first home game of the year in difficult fashion with a 2-1 defeat to Auburn Montgomery Sunday afternoon at the Grizzly Soccer Complex.

The Grizzlies built a 1-0 lead on Amanda Dale’s team-leading fourth goal of the season but the Warhawks tied it coming out of halftime, setting up Eyrun Agnarsdottir’s game-winning score in the 104th minute.

Georgia Gwinnett lost for just the third time in 12 home contests since the program began and fell to 4-2-1 on the season. The Grizzlies were coming off of a double-overtime tie at St. Thomas (Fla.) last Sunday before a double-overtime win over Thomas (Ga.) at home on Friday.

The Warhawks, who are receiving national votes in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Poll, improved to 4-2 with the win.

The Grizzlies hung tough despite playing the final 35 minutes of the match with 10 players after accumulated yellow cards. GGC still built an 11-8 shot advantage throughout the game and surrendered just one corner kick.

Twenty different Grizzlies saw action in the game as GGC tried to keep fresh legs on the field.

With just three minutes remaining before halftime in a scoreless game, Mackenzie Bailey triggered a Grizzly attack that produced a 1-0 lead. Bailey fed a pass ahead to Mary Vernetti, who swung in a cross to Dale’s feet that the senior directed past AUM goalkeeper Chloe Crook.

The Warhawks evened things coming out of the break as Nicole Letford pushed a ball past GGC goalkeeper Alex Hays and into an open net in the 46th minute.

The Grizzlies outshot the Warhawks during regulation, 10-4, with neither team generating the go-ahead goal.

With under five minutes remaining in the second period of overtime, Agnarsdottir shot a ball over GGC goalkeeper Mo Gutierrez that glanced off the crossbar and into the net for the winning score.

“I am very proud of the way our girls battled all game long against a high quality opponent,” Grizzlies head coach Domenic Martelli said. “We showed a lot of heart in fighting to the finish of our third straight double-overtime game, especially battling a player down for the final third of the game. I am really excited for our team moving forward.

“We really played well defensively to limit their chances, plus we were able to move the ball well and created many opportunities in the attacking third,” Martelli added. “We had to protect the flanks as that’s where they were dangerous. We really made the game exciting throughout the overtimes as we pushed on the counter attack. The crowd was tremendous and offered great energy out there.”

The Grizzlies now hit the road for games Friday and Saturday at Cumberlands (Ky.) and Tennessee Temple.