Lady Tigers advance by winning OT thriller

Cowley College freshman forward Natalia Lima sends the game-winning goal past Butler goalkeeper Lexi Winkle in overtime Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

Cowley College freshman forward Natalia Lima booted home the winning goal in the first minute of overtime Friday, sending the No. 17-ranked Cowley College women’s soccer team to a 2-1 victory against Butler in the second round of the Region VI Playoffs at Bulldog Stadium.

The Lady Tigers (14-3) meet Hill, Texas (12-2-2) at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita in the Plains District semifinals, with the winner playing against the winner of the other semifinal game between Johnson County (13-6-1) and Seminole State, Okla. (17-0-2) at 5 p.m. Thursday.

Not ready for their record-breaking season to come to an end, the Lady Tigers scored in the final two minutes of regulation when freshman Manuela Oliveira booted home a penalty kick for her ninth goal of the season.

“Manuela has been tremendous for us,” Cowley coach Roberto dos Santos said. “She has got such composure to step in and drill that penalty kick.”

The Lady Grizzlies (12-6-1) opened the scoring before the PK tied it 1-1 and sent the game into overtime.

Cowley freshman midfielder Francisca Valenzuela sent a beautiful pass to freshman Carla Ruiz, who then dropped off a feed for Lima, who slipped a shot past the diving Butler goalkeeper to send the players and fans into a frenzy. The goal was the team-leading 18th of the season for Lima.

The Lady Tigers defeated Butler for the third time this season.

“It is so difficult to beat a good team three times in one season,” dos Santos said. “We started out flat, but the girls stepped up in the second half and never stopped believing in themselves.”

After having never won a playoff game in the history of the program, the Lady Tigers are now only two victories away from advancing to the National tournament.

“The girls want to keep writing history,” dos Santos said. “Hill College is very good. It will come down to who wants it the most and who shows up ready to play.”

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