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Big second half lifts Lee past Southern

Apr. 11—Right now, everyone who steps on the field with the Lee County Lady Jackets has its hands full. But for more than 40 minutes Tuesday night, Southern Lee held its own.

Lee is one of the hottest teams in the state, coming into the match with its county rivals on an eight-game winning streak that has pushed the Lady Jackets to a No. 4 overall ranking in the 3A East. The Lady Jackets have not lost a 3A team all season, and haven't lost to anyone in over a month.

Southern, one of the state's most-improved teams this year, wasn't expected to end that streak, and the Lady Cavaliers didn't, losing 6-0 on six Lady Jacket goals, all in the last 35 minutes of the match. But there was no questioning the effort of the Southern Lee players.

Despite dominating the time of possession in the first half and keeping the Lady Cavaliers back on their heels, Lee (11-2, 5-0 Sandhills Athletic Conference) could not find the back of the net. The Lady Jackets attacked the goal from every which direction, but with freshman keeper Jaqueline Hernandez making all the stops and first-year head coach Anna Fish constantly barking out defensive adjustments from the sideline, the Lady Cavaliers maintained a clean sheet.

Lee nearly scored twice in the final nine minutes of the half. Ava Perez made a pass from the sideline as Gillian Garrison raced toward the goal at the 31-minute mark, but Garrison met the ball a split-second late and bumped it past the left post. In the 37th minute, Garrison passed the ball back to an open Lily Currin, but Currin hit the crossbar. After Hernandez stopped Garrison late in the 39th minute, the teams went to the break deadlocked.

The problem was that the Lady Cavaliers would now have to stand 40 more minutes of relentless pressure, and that was too much.

Garrison missed a shot in the 44th minute and then Hernandez stopped her again seconds later. However, Southern couldn't clear the ball. In the 46th minute, Garrison beat her defender and had a shot six feet outside the right post. She angled it past Hernandez into the back left corner to get the home team on the board.

And with that, the floodgates opened on the Lady Cavaliers' valiant effort.

Just 57 seconds later, with Lee on the attack again, another long pass from the sideline was stopped by Hernandez, but she couldn't secure the ball, which rebounded straight to Garrison. She put it into the goal.

In minute 50, less than three minutes later, it was Lila Moshfegh's turn. She took a long pass from the midfield and was one-on-one with Hernandez, beating her to make it 3-0.

For the next 10 minutes, Hernandez and the Southern defense held. In the 56th minute, the keeper stuffed Moshfegh's shot, and in the 60th, stopped Garrison at near point-blank range.

Moshfegh got her second goal early in the 61st minute, when she took a hard shot that Hernandez couldn't stop and it went off her hands and in.

By this time, the Southern defense was worn down and Lee tacked on two more before it was over, one in minute 67 when Moshfegh passed ahead to Garrison for the hat trick, and the last one in minute 75, where Ava Perez finished a breakaway goal set up by a long pass from the midfield by Addy Allen.

Perez was credited with assists on two of the goals, while Moshfegh, Garrison and Allen each had one.

Southern (5-4, 1-3 SAC) will travel to Richmond Friday night. Lee County played at Triton Wednesday night and hosts Union Pines on Friday.