ANCHORAGE -- Dimond High freshman Lydia Cotton said she prayed that her final shot in Thursday's nonconference match against Juneau-Douglas would find its way home.
The high, floating ball gave her enough time to recite a Lord's Prayer, and ended with a "Hallelujah!" from the Dimond bench when it cleared Juneau goalkeeper Erin Cottingham and nestled into the back left corner of the net to give the Lynx a 1-0 victory at Anchorage Football Stadium.
"I could tell it was on line," Cotton said of her blast from beyond 30 yards. "With the depth perception I couldn't tell if it was over her or not. I was praying it would go in."
The score came in the 77th minute on what would prove to be the final shot of the match, an exact reversal of the teams' meeting a year ago that the Crimson Bears won 1-0 on a goal with two minutes remaining.
"That was just for dramatic effect," Dimond goalkeeper Tanya Sena said of the late score, which lifted the Lynx to 3-4-2 in their final game of the regular season.
The loss ended dreams of an unbeaten season for the Crimson Bears (7-1-2). Juneau-Douglas, which plays Colony in Palmer today and returns to AFS to face unbeaten Service Saturday, notched a pair of nonconference ties on its last trip to Anchorage a week ago.
"These are the games that are gonna put us on the map," Crimson Bear senior Krista Heard said. "It's probably good to show we're not unbeatable."
Dimond had a five-game unbeaten streak snapped on Wednesday with a 4-1 loss to Region IV leader Service. But it grabbed a bit of momentum into next week's Region IV tournament with a win in a game that seemed destined for a scoreless draw.
Cotton ended that after taking a long lead pass and charging down the right side of the field with Juneau defender Monica Daugherty keeping pace. As the two approached the 30-yard line, Cottingham charged out of the goal to cut her off. Cotton said she didn't notice the goalkeeper come out, but she boomed a high kick and Cottinghman could only turn and scream, "No!" as it floated over her head and between the posts.
"I was just thinking (Daugherty) is faster than me," Cotton said. "I just wanted to get rid of it."
Before that, it was a game of missed opportunities -- and most of them were Juneau's.
The Crimson Bears put seven shots on goal to three for Dimond, but Sena was up to the task.
Midway through the second half, Juneau's Liza Slotnick lofted an indirect free kick from the 36-yard line over the Dimond defense and onto the foot of teammate Greta Thibodeau, who sent a low shot from 10 yards that Sena dove to her left and stopped.
In the first half, Heard and Thibodeau executed a nifty give-and-go that allowed Heard to charge in from the left and fire a low shot. But Sena dove to her right and clutched the ball just inside the left post.
"Mostly I was concerned about penalties," Sena said. "They were playing aggressive, so we had to play aggressive. I just didn't want anyone to foul and give them a penalty kick."
Juneau Empire ©2014. All Rights Reserved.