Bulldogs face Harlem in epic PK shootout

Apr. 18—THOMASVILLE — Thomasville soccer experienced every emotion on the spectrum on Wednesday night as the boys and girls squads faced Harlem in the first round of the state playoffs.

The girls got things started on Wednesday evening with a tough match Harlem. Harlem felt bigger, stronger and faster, while the Bulldogs seemed to have trouble controlling their first touch.

With just over 10 minutes left in the first half, Harlem struck. Finally breaking through the stone wall that was Izzie Ward, who had a great game between the posts. Harlem took a 1-0 lead, putting some serious pressure on the Bulldogs.

The Lady Bulldogs had a very hard time breaking through Harlem's back line, often struggling with the first touch and giving away possession. As the time ticked away on the second half and Thomasville's round two hopes dwindled, Leila Lutes broke through.

Off the back of a solid pass, Lutes maneuvered around her defender and saw nothing but turf between her and the goal. She tore down the field and sent the ball sailing past the Harlem keeper and into the bottom left corner. Celebration ensued, but the job wasn't done. With 4:40 remaining on the clock, Thomasville had a chance to put the game away, but came up short.

The game became a scoring fest as Thomasville and Harlem entered overtime, trading goals and forcing a second overtime and then two sets of penalty kicks. Harlem got the edge on Ward in the end and took the shootout 4-3, securing the victory and ending the Lady Bulldogs season.

"I think last nights game didn't represent our season as a whole," said Thomasville girls head coach Lucas Kimmel. "We had a very good, very promising season... but, we didn't represent that. We didn't show that in last night's game."

Though it was a heartbreaking loss, Thomasville has a lot to be proud of.

They finished the season with a winning record of 8-7-3 and took second in the region at 4-1. They secured some big time wins over programs like Valdosta and Cairo as well as dominant region wins like their 10-0 stomping of Monroe and 13-0 routing of Dougherty.

All eight of the Lady Bulldogs wins were shutout victories and they allowed just two goals in region play. Congratulations to the Thomasville Lady Bulldogs on a great season.

The Thomasville boys were on the right side of their PK shootout with Harlem. Eighty minutes of regulation and a bout of overtime were not enough to crown a victor. Thomasville and Harlem entered a penalty shootout where Thomasville avenged the girls and knocked off Harlem, winning the shootout 4-3.

Thomasville now moves on to round two of the state tournament, where they will face Pike County at Zebulon. Pike defeated Savannah Christian in round one, 4-1, to advance. The Pirates have had a fantastic season this year, finishing the regular season 16-3 with a perfect 8-0 region record, which won them the region title.

Pike is a good all-around team, having scored 71 goals this season and allowing just 27. They have only had three shutout victories this year, but rarely give up more than a single goal. The Pirates are unbeaten at home and will prove a tough test for the Bulldogs in round two.