DEVOLA - Marietta High just ran out of time.
The Lady Tiger booters had Athens High in a defensive posture for most of the match but to no avail as it dropped a 2-1 decision in a sectional tournament opener at the Devola Soccer Complex Monday night.
MHS exits with a 7-8-2 record while AHS, 8-7-2, advances to play at top-seeded Hillsboro Thursday.
"This was similar to the first game," said Marietta head coach Jeff Price, whose Lady Tigers fell 2-1 to Athens in The Plains on Sept. 22. "We just didn't get lucky."
In the sectional do-or-die contest, MHS outshot the Lady Bulldogs, 24-2, and had only one goal to show for it, Molly Josefson's late score in the second half.
"We were so close," said Josefson, a foreign exchange student from Sweden. "I think we had the game all the time, but they (Athens) got the goals. It's a shame that we didn't win."
Athens 2, Marietta 1
at Devola Soccer Complex
Athens (8-7-2) 1 1 - 2
Marietta (7-8-2) 0 1 - 1
A: Brooke Kemerer, unassisted, 18th minute
A: Miranda Tinkham, assist Ingrid Buckley (corner kick), 63rd minute
M: Molly Josefson (21), unassisted, 75th minute
Shots M 24, A 2
Keeper saves: M (Nora Gulick) 0, A (Emily Fischer) 13
Corner kicks: M 10, A 2
The Lady Tigers also had a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks, and dominated possession of the ball. Orange and black freshman keeper Nora Gulick had no saves as Athens made the only two shots it took on the frame.
AHS senior striker Brooke Kemerer, a transfer from Saginaw, Mich., and sophomore marking back Miranda Tinkham each had a goal for the winners.
Lady Bulldog frosh keeper goalie Emily Fischer was credited with 13 saves.
"Their goal-keeper made some nice saves," Price said. "We just couldn't get the second ball (equalizer). It happens."
Fischer also had a lot of assistance from defenders' Maya Sattler, Rachel Broughton, Kate Vancouver, and Tinkham as well as some help from the crossbar and right post.
"That's what happens when you go to a defensive style," said Athens boss Sean Cook. "My style of coaching, we don't get very many shots, and we give up a lot. But I give a lot of credit to my freshman goal-keeper.
"Tonight, these ladies fought and did what they needed to do to finish the game out."
Early in the first half, Josefson received a nice feed from senior Alyssa Hill, but her tough-angled shot hit the cross bar.
Not long afterwards, Marietta's Ashley Streski nailed a direct kick from outside the penalty area that was grabbed by Fischer.
In the 18th minute of action, Kemerer, who scored both of her team's goals in the first meeting against Marietta, beat Gulick with a hard, center shot to make it 1-0.
"I've been telling this team constantly that we've got to finish our opportunities," Cook said. "We're very young, and we play only one or two forwards."
Marietta nearly got the tying goal a couple of minutes later when Josefson had an open net after getting by Fischer. But the Lady Tiger standout's shot rolled just wide right.
At halftime, MHS trailed 1-0.
After the break, the Lady Tigers continued to pressure the Lady Bulldog defense. Early on, Hill's long, high shot from the perimeter was collected by Fischer. Then, Katie Miller and Josefson had a give-and-go on an offensive surge with the latter booter hitting the right post with a kick.
Marietta's Anna Carpenter followed with a nice shot on target that was turned away by Fischer.
It looked like it might be just a matter of time before the Lady Tigers would knot the score. But instead, the Lady Bulldogs got that all-important insurance goal when Tinkham headed home Ingrid Buckley's left-side corner kick in the 63rd minute to make it 2-0.
"That was a huge goal," Cook said.
Battling back, though, Josefson finally put one into the back of the net with a little over five minutes left in the game.
Then, with time winding down, Josefson surged in the penalty area but was tripped up - and that was that.
"They battled the whole way through," Price said. "They didn't quit."
Added Josefson, "We did great, and I'm proud of us."
Playing in their final orangle and black soccer match were Marietta seniors' Amelia Gulick, Esther Demlow, Hill, Streski, Carpenter and Josefson.