Padgett, Harris Lead John Brown to Upset Victory at Rogers State

CLAREMORE, Okla. (November 2, 2012) — Cheyenne Padgett scored a goal in the 42nd minute and Rachel Harris notched the game-winning shot in penalty kicks as the Golden Eagles bested Rogers State (Okla.) in the opening round of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament tonight in Claremore.

Although the game will officially count as a 1-1 draw, it is JBU that will advance to the semifinals of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament as John Brown won the shootout 4-3 in six rounds.

Exactly two weeks ago, the Golden Eagles suffered a 2-0 defeat to the hands of the Hillcats at Soldier Field. Despite controlling the majority of the game, JBU left the contest perplexed how they let such a convincing performance slip away in the shutout loss.

"If there was any team we wanted to play a second time, it was Rogers State," said head coach Scott Marksberry after the thrilling double-overtime draw. "We didn't play nearly as well as we could have last time, but through analyzing game film and identifying our mistakes, we learned a lot about their style of play."

This forced Marksberry to introduce a brand new style of attack and defense, implemented solely for John Brown's rematch opportunity.

"We changed everything about our formation and style of play to take advantage of a couple of weaknesses we discovered. Alex (Fahr) and Kristen (Morency) really stepped up for us tonight."

The changes seemed to produce immediate results as Padgett, after a deflection off Alex Fahr, knocked home a loose ball at the top of the six-yard box in the 42nd minute to hand JBU the 1-0 lead.

The Golden Eagles outshot RSU 3-1 in the first half despite the Hillcats owning the majority of corner kick opportunities (5-1).

In the second half, Rogers State began to change the momentum and began to pour shots towards keeper Kristen Morency.

The onslaught on the John Brown net finally paid off in the 84th minute when a broken corner kick chance translated into a shot that found its way inside the near post, deadlocking the game at one.

Morency had to make nine saves in the second half, none bigger than a stop in the waning moments as a Hillcat attacker found an opportunity as a result of a scrum close to the John Brown goalmouth.

Anticipating the oncoming shot, Morency lunged at the RSU forward, only yard from the goal, making a kick save and keeping the Golden Eagles in the contest.

"I just stick to what I know, to what I feel comfortable with," admitted Morency, making her first postseason start as a Golden Eagle. "Faith (Thurman) and I have been working on that exact situation in practice this week. I knew I had to be aggressive to have a chance at making the save."

The two overtime sessions proved to be a tale of two periods as the host squad outshot JBU 2-0 in the first frame before the Golden Eagle responded with a 4-1 advantage in shots in the second.

"We knew that Rogers State was going to come hard in the second half," added Marksberry. "I honestly couldn't be more thrilled at how we were able to respond, especially after their goal. By the second overtime, we were back to playing our best soccer of the night."

The game would move to penalty kicks, however, as JBU was unable to put away its chances in the second overtime.

The first round of shots saw Whitney Brannan pick the bottom right corner giving John Brown the 1-0 lead. That lead wouldn't hold long when RSU converted the ensuing opportunity to even the score.

After both teams missed in the second round, Padgett factored in the final outcome again, placing a hard shot to the right corner gave the Golden Eagles a 2-1 advantage.

Closing out the third round of shooters, Morency posted what was perhaps the biggest save of the evening as the freshman netminder guessed correctly but overcommitted on the shot. Luckily she was able to kick out her left leg at the last moment, deflecting the ball over the crossbar.

"I was able to guess right," admitted Morency. "I threw myself in the air and was able to shoot my left towards the ball in time."

In an ironic situation, Marksberry elected to have backup keeper Thurman shoot fourth. His instincts were correct as Thurman calmly buried her opportunity, giving JBU a 3-1 advantage, forcing a do-or-die shot for the Hillcats.

Rogers State rose to the occasion, converting its fourth opportunity to close the penalty kicks score to 3-2 headed into the final round of shooters.

Marksberry would call on Casey O'Brien in the pressure-filled fifth slot, but RSU's keeper collected an impressive save, breathing life into the Hillcats comeback attempt.

After another goal by host squad to close out the best-of-five shooter situation, the game moved to sudden death penalty kicks.

Luckily for the Golden Eagles, sudden death turned into sudden life as defender Rachel Harris' goal proved to be enough after the Hillcats' shooter sent the ball over the net to close out the contest.

"We have a lot of respect for Roger State, but we knew we would win this game," Padgett noted. "The systems that we worked on in practice were exactly what we needed to execute to win this game."

With the win, Marksberry recorded his first-ever postseason victory as head coach of the JBU women's soccer program. Last season, the Golden Eagles fell in penalty kicks at former conference foe Southern Nazarene (Okla.).

John Brown will now have only a few days preparation to travel to the No. 7 team in the nation, Oklahoma City, who advanced to the SAC conference tournament semifinals after dispatching Wayland Baptist (Texas), 2-0, earlier today. The semifinals are set to commence on Monday (Nov. 5). Game times are still to be determined.