KINGSPORT — Lauren McInturff injured her knee late in the opening half of Sunday’s championship match of the second annual Lady Tribe Invitational.
The Dobyns-Bennett goalkeeper soldiered on, however — and, at the close, with all eyes focused on her, provided the Indians with the type of moment that may just inspire another historic season.
McInturff dived low to her left to deny Ashley Reveiz in a penalty shootout, and the Tribe rallied past Farragut 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Eastman Park.
Kate Jones sealed an epic win for D-B (9-3-1), driving her penalty, the team’s fifth, low past Rebecca Perkins, who dived the right way. It sparked a raucous celebration from the Tribe players and coaching staff.
“We really wanted this game,” McInturff said. “This is kind of redemption for the way we played against them earlier this season. This feels really good.”
D-B was at the wrong end of a 5-0 reverse to the Admirals, currently ranked 11th in Class AAA, during the Bearden Invitational in late August.
There was no chance of a repeat this time.
The Tribe erased two one-goal deficits Sunday — both times showing the type of mettle it will take for D-B to return to the TSSAA state tournament for the second consecutive season.
Senior Kara Brockwell’s decisive touch on 59 minutes that leveled the match at 2 — after tournament MVP Katie Clark’s shot from the right side of the penalty area was palmed back into play by Perkins — was the result of simply wanting it more. According to D-B coach Shane Calvert, all his players wanted it Sunday.
“The girls came out a little bit hesitant, but settled in pretty quickly,” Calvert said. “I was really proud of the way we kept fighting back all day.
“We went down 1-0 and got back to 1-1. We got down 2-1 and came back to tie it once again. We really did what we needed to do.
“They wanted this one bad and showed it for 80 minutes.”
A tentative start from the Indians cost them after just four minutes, when McInturff bobbled an attempted claim at the 6, allowing Skylar Brewer to deposit into an open net for an early 1-0 lead.
Amy Oreskovic, who scored in D-B’s 2-0 semifinal win over Sevier County in the morning, handed the Tribe a lifeline in the 15th. Her strike, an unstoppable curler from the edge of the 18, was made possible after Brockwell failed to connect from the same position.
The Admirals (8-4-1) responded after 29 minutes, regaining the lead through Amalia Beltran, but did not take advantage of numerous chances in the second half.
It cost them.
“I think this win can only explode our confidence,” Calvert said. “We’ve played a lot better as of late. We’ve strung together quite a few wins and played well when we’ve done it.”
Mary Cathryn Suhocki opened the shootout, earning Farragut an early advantage with her successful drive to the right of McInturff.
The next seven penalty takers also converted.
Then up stepped Reveiz, the Admirals’ most dangerous player all day. Her penalty was anything but, though, a comfortable height for McInturff, who was off her line immediately.
Jones stepped up next to secure a first Lady Tribe Invitational title for the hosts.
“I kind of like (penalty kicks),” Jones, a senior, said. “You’re expected to score and the pressure doesn’t bother me.
“I had a feeling I would be last. Luckily, it worked out.”