Southwestern ends 16-Game losing skid to Boyle County with a 3-2 comeback win at The Plains

Caleb Lowndes I CJ

Southwestern High School junior Ashlan Cunnagin is mobbed by her teammates after scoring the game winning goal with two minutes left in the game. The Lady Warriors ended a 20 year losing streak to Boyle County on Thursday night with a 3-2 comeback win.

For the first 10 minutes of their game against visiting Boyle County on Thursday night, the Southwestern Lady Warrior soccer team looked to be in jeopardy of repeating some history -- bad history.

Heck, make that futility.

You see Southwestern hadn't beaten Boyle County in a soccer game since a 1-0 victory over the Lady Rebels way back on October 4, 2001. That's right. It had been almost 20 years.

Since that loss to Southwestern back in '01, the Lady Rebels had gone a perfect 13-0-3 against the Lady Warriors since the beginning of the '02 season, with six of those wins coming in regional tournament contests.

However last night on The Plains, Southwestern made a little history of its own.

Trailing Boyle County 2-0 less than 10 minutes into the contest -- thanks to a pair of goals from Peyton Bugg -- Nick Stringer's club would rally, and then some.

Down 2-0 at the intermission, Southwestern was able to reel off three unanswered goals in the second period, and as a result, it was the Lady Warriors stopping two decades of frustration, with a come from behind, 3-2 victory over the Lady Rebels.

"We had this game circled -- I don't know if they (Lady Rebels) had it circled, but we had it circled because they eliminated us from the regional tournament last year," stated Stringer, after his club moved to 7-1 on the season with the win.

"Boyle County is always a regional contender, and we felt like if we could ever get over the hump by beating a team like the Lady Rebels, who are seemingly in the regional finals year after year after year, that it would give us some assurance that we're going in the right direction," remarked the Southwestern head coach. "I didn't know it had been right at 20 years since we had beaten them. That means none of our girls were even born the last time that happened."

And, it almost didn't happen yet again on Thursday evening.

Bugg scored two quick goals on Thursday night right out of the shoot for the Lady Rebels, and with 31:57 remaining in the opening half of play after her second score, Southwestern was in a quick, 2-0 hole.

At that juncture however, Southwestern managed to hold things together and didn't fall even further behind Boyle County, and went to the intermission down by that 2-0 margin.

"When you get hit in the mouth, you can't lose your composure, and that's exactly what I told our team at halftime," pointed out Stringer.

"They came out and punched us in the mouth, but you've got to stay together," he added. "Once that fight starts, you can't lose your composure, but instead, you've got to come together. We were so excited to play this game, and when they scored that first goal early, we went into a tailspin. When they scored the second one, we somehow managed to piece together the rest of that half and get to halftime only down 2-0. When things go wrong, we talked to them about not attacking each other, but that's when you have to come together, and this team wants to win so bad."

Ashlan Cunnagin got the comeback started for the Lady Warriors, as she cut the deficit in half to 2-1 in favor of Boyle County with 32:57 remaining in the contest, thanks to her first of two goals on the night.

Then, with 18:41 remaining on the clock, came arguably the play of the game for the Lady Warriors.

Corrine Souders took a free kick from just over 40 yards out, and the ball sailed just over the keepers outstretched hands for a goal, and Southwestern was back in this affair, knotting things up at 2-2.

Then, with just over two minutes left in the game, Cunnagin completed her great night with her second goal of the evening, and the Lady Warriors defense held on down the stretch.

As a result, Southwestern had its first win over Boyle County in 19 years, 11 months, and five days to be exact -- the drought was finally over.

"We talked to them at halftime about how we needed to come together, focus on the things that we needed to work on, and then let it play from there," stated Stringer. "We told them to not blame each other, don't blame the referees, don't blame the fans, but focus on what we want to do to accomplish our goal."

"These girls want to win so badly, and I'll tell you, this junior and senior group of girls on our team are a very, very hungry bunch, and it's easy to coach a group like this," added the Lady Warrior coach.

Southwestern will return to action on Friday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. facing arch-rival Pulaski County at PC Field.

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