Programs that combined for last three 7A titles scored three goals in two minutes
By Official Florida FC
Anytime Bartram Trail and Creekside’s girls soccer programs meet on the pitch, the game is liable to feature more twists and turns than Longleaf Pine Parkway.
Thursday night’s District 1-7A tournament final was not an exception. Bartram Trail, the No. 1 team in Class 7A and the team that has topped the FHSAA statewide rankings for the last four weeks, was pushed to the precipice by their rival from the red half of Longleaf Pine Parkway.
Bartram Trail found a way to beat the reigning Class 7A state champion 4-3. Reese Henley scored the title-clinching goal with 29 seconds remaining.
Avery Upton equalized for Creekside (10-5) with one minute remaining. The senior co-captain beat the Bears goalie to a hopeful ball at the top of the penalty box and finished with her left foot.
Somehow, the Knights scored within the first three minutes, equalized in the last minute and lost in regulation.
The game was one of the wildest St. Johns Bartram Trail coach Jen Rodriguez said she has seen in her 22 years on the touchline. She admitted she presumed the match would head to overtime after Upton’s late equalizer.
The last three minutes featured three goals, one penalty call denied and multiple moments that would have won most matches.
Creekside’s Avery Robsinson was brought down in the penalty area with three minutes remaining. Her appeal for a penalty kick was denied. Moments later, Bartram’s Grace Ivey used the outside of her boot to flick a cross into the far corner for what appeared to be a 78th minute game-winner.
But, Upton picked a pristine time to score her first goal of the season.
Henley headed the ball home – her first headed goal of her varsity career – before Creekside fans finished celebrating Upton’s goal.
“I have never had the momentum swing like that. We’ve had exciting games – I remember one vs Ponte Vedra that went to (penalty kicks),” Rodriguez said recalling a 2014 district final against the Bears’ county rival. “I enjoyed the game, no matter the result. It was well-played and it was clean.”