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Mabton making headway on pitch

MABTON - Last night the Lady Viking soccer team took league leading Connell into overtime before falling 4-3 at home.

Thursday night's outcome was a far cry from just two weeks ago, when Mabton lost 10-1 at Connell.

"It was a nailbiter," Mabton Coach Elizabeth Garcia said of last night's SCAC East contest. "Connell is the number one team in our league. Our girls showed great improvement. They've progressed so much. I'm proud of them."

The Lady Vikes opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Micki Williams - who accounted for all three of Mabton's goals - found the back of the net on a penalty kick.

The Eagles equalized in the 25th minute, but Mabton went up 2-1 at the half when Williams gathered in a pass from Soila Zaragoza and tipped it into the right side of Connell's goal.

The Eagles came out fighting in the second half, tallying a score just five minutes after the break to tie things at 2-2. Connell then grabbed its first lead of the game in the 55th minute on a counter-attack.

"It was a really physical game, a real high pressure game," said Garcia. "It was really intense, their team (the Eagles) weren't used to losing."

Despite all of Connell's best efforts, the Eagles still had no answer for Williams, who tied the contest at 3-3 in the last five minutes on a free kick. It marked the 12th goal in the last four matches for Williams.

Unfortunately for Mabton, one of its key defenders went down with an ankle injury in the final moments of regulation.

Garcia and the Lady Vikes had no choice but to substitute in a reserve defender in the overtime session.

The Eagles took advantage of the line-up change and crossed in a shot in the first few minutes of the overtime session, resulting in a golden goal and the victory.

The close contest was reflected in shots on goal, with Mabton getting the best of it but only by an 11-to-10 margin. Mabton keeper Maryellen Gutierrez kept things close with six saves.

The Lady Vikes (4-5, 5-9) wrap up the regular season next Tuesday against Warden.

Garcia says her team's postseason hopes are all on the line in next week's finale. "It comes down to who wins the next game," she said. "If we win then we play Warden in a tie-breaker."

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