By Doug Gorman
The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals looked unstoppable in the first half of Wednesday afternoon's Class AAAA first-round state soccer game against visiting Lakeview Ft. Oglethorpe.
By the second half, they were fighting for their state tournament lives. In the end, Jonesboro prevailed 2-1 in a heart-stopping first-round victory.
"The wind was a factor, but I don't think we played with the same intensity as we showed in our last victory against North Atlanta, but we did get the win," said Jonesboro head coach Matt Trucks. "We need to come out here next week and see if we can capture a little bit of the magic we have displayed most of the year."
Jonesboro controlled the action throughout most of the first half, keeping the ball down in the Lady Warriors' half of the field for the first 40 minutes of the game.
The Lady Cardinals' offensive pressure resulted in seven shots on goal in the first half and six corner kicks down at the Lady Warriors' end of the field.
Nearly seven minutes into the game, the Lady Cardinals nearly score for the first time in the contest when Wendy Garcia headed the ball to Amanda Traber, who just missed putting the ball in the back of the net.
The Lady Warriors stopped the shot, but couldn't move the ball past midfield.
That's when Jonesboro struck for its first score of the game.
With 33:21 remaining in the first half, Garcia dribbled toward the Lady Warriors' goal and booted the ball toward the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe went the entire first half without a shot on goal, and with 8:11 remaining in second half, Jess Harrelson gave the Lady Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
The momentum shifted in the Lady Warriors' favor in the second half as they began to get their first real scoring chances of the game.
With about nine minutes remaining, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe turned it back into a close contest again when Ashley Wilson scored to cut the Lady Cardinals' lead to 2-1.
Jonesboro put five shots on goal in the second half and add three corner-kick opportunities, but couldn't put anymore points on its half of the scoreboard.
The play of freshman goal keeper Brittany Brooks helped Jonesboro move into the second round.
After having a pretty easy time in the first half, Brooks was forced to stop six shots on goal by the Lady Warriors, including three in the final three minutes of the contest.
Jonesboro plays the winner of the Rockdale County-St. Pius game next week in the second round of the tournament.
The game is scheduled for next Tuesday at Jonesboro.