When the Columbus Lady Blue Devils and Riverwood Lady Raiders first met March 30 in a non-region soccer match in Sandy Springs, Riverwood emerged with a penalty-kick shootout victory.
The teams met again Friday night at the Walden Soccer Complex at Columbus State in the first round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAA girls soccer state playoffs, but this time, Madison See made sure the end result was different.
See scored two goals, the final one coming with 15:53 remaining, and Columbus held off a late charge by Riverwood to win 2-1 and advance to the second round. Columbus will host Eastside (12-6-1) Wednesday at Columbus State with a kickoff time to be determined. Eastside advanced by shutting out Westside-Augusta 3-0 Friday night in Covington.
"(Avenging the earlier loss) was in the back of our minds," said See, who has signed with NCAA Division I member Davidson College to play soccer. "We went up there and lost on penalty kicks, and we didn't have everybody in our lineup. I think we were confident that with them coming down here that we could win the match. We were just blessed to come away with a win and be able to play (Wednesday)."
Riverwood had the first quality chance in the match. In the seventh minute, Amira Perryman had a shot from about 10 yards out, but it was right at Columbus keeper Anna Scogin, and she made the save.
Columbus (15-4), however, scored first. Just over 11 minutes into the match, See took a long pass and dribbled into the right side of the penalty area. She launched a shot that arced over Riverwood goalie Jaime Heidt and into the top-left corner of the net.
Riverwood (10-9) took back the momentum and evened the match at the 14:21 mark, when Alexis De Groot got open on a pass from Callie Bergen and beat Scogin one-on-one with a shot in the bottom-right corner of the net.
Both teams had scoring chances during the final 25-plus minutes in the first half, but neither team converted, and the match went to halftime tied at 1.
Columbus outshot Riverwood 11-4 in the opening 40 minutes, but the Raiders had four corner kicks to none for the Blue Devils.
"We had some chances to score, but we weren't able to put them away," Columbus coach Russell Oliver said. "We knew coming in this was going to be a tough match, but I thought, if we played like we were capable of that, we'd get through to the second round. We know this is a special team, and it was our destiny to win this match."
Riverwood had the better scoring chances in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but Scogin had four saves to keep the match tied at 1.
Columbus just missed a chance to take the lead in the 62nd minute, when See took a shot from long distance that caromed off the crossbar and over the top of the net.
However, at the 64:07 mark, See gave the Blue Devils the lead when she took a free kick on the right side from about 35 yards out and put it in the top-left corner of the net. To celebrate following the goal, See did a hook slide and was mobbed by her teammates as they breathed a sigh of relief, having taken a 2-1 lead with just under 16 minutes remaining.
"In sports, there are all kinds of cliches about leaders and good players stepping up in big games," Oliver said. "But game-in and game-out, (See) does exactly that. She means so much to this team and is just a natural leader. At halftime, I just let her take over the huddle and start talking to the team about what we needed to do. Riverwood knew about her and tried to defend her, but she was determined to score today, and she did."
The Raiders had one final chance to tie the match with under 30 seconds to go. Rebecca Proschansky got a pass from Bergen and was wide open in front of the goal. But her shot went off the crossbar. On the subsequent corner kick, Scogin snagged the ball to preserve the victory and send the Blue Devils through to the second round.
"Our defense really did the job in the back," See said. "Riverwood had some looks, but we did a good job of possessing the ball and finishing the chances when we had them."
Friday at Columbus State
Goals--Columbus: Madison See 2, Riverwood: Alexis De Groot. Assists--Riverwood: Callie Bergen. Goalies--Columbus: Anna Scogin 7 saves, Riverwood: Jaime Heidt 9 saves. Records--Columbus 15-4, Riverwood 10-9. Next: Eastside vs. Columbus (State Playoffs Second Round at Columbus State) Wednesday.