BY JOIE JOHNSON
As the rain fell on the Grady Stadium turf last Friday, the Lady Knights reigned over the visiting North Atlanta Warriors, 4-2, in a tight contest that featured three ties but no lead changes.
The Warriors did win one thing: the opening kickoff. But the Knights quickly stole the ball and ended the Warrior advance by kicking the ball out of bounds.
Forward Perri Bonner, a junior, had the first good scoring chance for the Knights, but her attempt to score sailed over the goal.
Fellow junior Gracie White tried to launch another downfield attack only to lose the ball out of bounds. After a North Atlanta throw-in, Grady regained possession, and Bonner pushed the ball forward at one point heading the ball to herself during a nifty dribbling sequence.
But Bonner’s shot on goal was saved by the Warrior goalie.
After a shot from Abby Orlansky ricocheted off the goal post, forwards Bonner and Sophie Maschinot collided trying to get the rebound, and the ball flew out of the collision and ended up in the back of the Warrior net, to give Grady a 1-0 lead.
A foul by Ansley Marks about 30 yards from the Grady goal set North Atlanta up for the equalizing goal later in the first half.
The first half ended in a 1-1 tie that did not leave Coach Rodney Thomas very pleased.
Early in the second, North Atlanta squandered a terrific scoring chance when Grady goalie Emma Lee, a senior, saved a Warrior shot on goal.
From there, the Knights headed down the field. A North Atlanta foul inside the box led to a free kick and a golden opportunity for the Knights to regain the lead, but the Warrior goalie made the save.
Bonner created the next promising scoring opportunity, but she sent her open shot high and harmless over the North Atlanta goal.
Orlansky and Nally Kinnane teamed up to make the score 2-1. Orlansky sent a line-drive corner kick to the center of the box, which Kinnane deftly deflected into the net with her foot.
The Warriors gamely fought on, tying the score at 2, but then came a moment the Warriors wish they could play over.
A Warrior defender tried to clear another Orlansky line-drive corner, but instead played the ball into the net to give Grady a 3-2 lead. The own goal proved to be the eventual game-winner.
With the clock winding down, the Warriors tries valiantly to tie the game for a third time, but Bonner stole the ball and scored the insurance goal, which effectively put the game away.