Sacred Heart fell short 3-2 in the rematch of last season’s South State Championship against district rival Our Lady of Academy.
The Crusaders (4-3) were on the losing end of a pivotal district matchup as OLA battled to keep its playoff hopes alive, and Sacred Heart hoped to set up a winner take all game against St. Patrick on Tuesday.
According to Sacred Heart coach Joe Falla Sr., the difference in the game was his team’s inability to pass the ball.
“We didn’t play real hard in the first half,” Falla said. “The second half was a little bit better. We need to connect the passes. If we don’t connect the passes, we don’t go anywhere.”
The glare from the sun helped the Crescent take an early 2-0 lead in the first half. In the 8th minute, OLA (7-7-1) kicked a high ball from 18-yards away that Sacred Heart’s goalkeeper Jillian Hall lost in the sun, which resulted in the first goal.
In the 21st minute, the sun again proved to be a factor. OLA kicked another high ball from 25 yards away while Hall was able to get a hand on, but the sun kept her from properly judging the ball.
However, in the final minutes of the half, Sacred Heart’s offense found life after an injury timeout. Despite passing issues lingering them in the game, the Crusaders quickly moved the ball downfield. Gracie Falla found a one-on-one matchup against OLA’s goalkeeper and scored to narrow the lead 2-1 in the 33rd minute.
After the half, Sacred Heart got on the board again at the 48th minute. The Crusaders caught a lucky break on the team’s first corner kick of the game, as one of OLA’s players knocked in the ball into her own goal on a header, which tied the game 2-2.
However, in the 53rd minute, the Crescents pulled ahead with a free-kick, setting up a header to take the lead.
“Everything worked well except we didn’t connect the passes like we expected to do, and we needed to take some more shots,” Falla said.
With the loss, Sacred Heart now has to defeat St. Patrick (15-1) on Tuesday in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.