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Lady Chargers soccer overcome 3-0 halftime deficit to win division

Facing a large halftime deficit in a game that appeared to have gotten away from them, the Oxford girls soccer team rallied to beat Tupelo 4-3 in overtime on Tuesday night. The win clinched the division for the Lady Chargers and kept them undefeated in MHSAA 6A play.

Things snowballed on the Chargers very early in the matchup. They surrendered a quick goal to Tupelo just five minutes into the game. Two minutes later, Oxford fouled a Tupelo striker in the box, surrendering a penalty kick. Goal Lady Wave. However, that wasn’t the end. Tupelo scored again just minutes later to take a 3-0 lead less than 15 minutes in to the match. Things were not looking good for the Chargers.

“I think we came out flat and a little out of rhythm. We made some mental mistakes early,” said Oxford head coach Hunter Crane. “Tupelo thought they let one get away from them last time we played and they came out fired up. When you do that, a team as good as Tupelo will make you pay for it.”

Having fallen down 3-0, it would have been easy for the girls to give up. They could still have won the division with a loss here and wins in future games. But they held in strong. In the first three minutes of the second half, a set of crisp passes led to a goal for Oxford’s Kathleen Myers. Just minutes later, Emily Hayward drew a penalty kick that would be cashed in by Carissa Strum. Just like that, Oxford trailed just 3-2.

“I challenged the girls at halftime to come out and play very passionate soccer. I didn’t think we were out of it by any means. We’ve seen our offense put up points in a hurry this season,” Crane said.

With momentum on the side of the Chargers, they wouldn’t let up. Hayward made her mark known again, late in the match, tying the game at three with less than ten minutes to play. The game was heading to overtime.

As she has done all year, it was Morgan O’Connor who clinched things for Oxford in overtime. With under a minute remaining in the first ten-minute overtime period, O’Connor let out a strike from 40-yards, giving the Chargers a 4-3 lead. They would hold on in the second overtime period, clinching the division in the process.

“They just fought for each other, which is special to see. When you get down 3-0 in soccer, that’s pretty tough to fight back from. A lot of teams will lay down,” Crane said. “But they didn’t. They came out and played really passionate soccer for 40 minutes. And they did it together.”

The comeback saw the Oxford girls win their fourth straight division title. The Oxford boys lost to Tupelo 3-0 to fall to 2-2 in the division. Both teams take the field again on Friday in another divisional showdown at home against Columbus.