On an overcast, soggy night at Rowland Stadium, it was, rightfully enough, Jordan Rainwater who had the best night.
The Southside forward punched a second-effort goal past Greenwood’s Megan Hartness to score the eventual game-winner Tuesday night in the Lady Rebels’ 3-1 win.
Those nasty conditions kept Southside (9-1 in 7A/6A Central) from showing what was evident on the field. They dominated most of the match. But it was hard to tell until Rainwater broke through an otherwise impeccable Hartness for her goal in the 67th minute.
Rainwater took a cross from the touchline and sent a shot toward the Greenwood keeper from just outside the 6-yard box. And between the wet ball and the shot coming off Rainwater’s knee, the Hartness couldn’t control it. The ball careened off her and right back to Rainwater who tucked it into the corner of the net on the second try.
"It was slick," Rainwater said. "It was really hard to catch the ball because the second it hit the turf it would go flying and it was really hard to stop it."
The wet field played a major role in Greenwood’s goal, too, when Southside goalkeeper Sara Henson slipped on turf as she tried to clear a ball just outside the box. Greenwood’s Emily Jones was there to capitalize and played the ball around a supine Henson with a final dribble and put it into the gaping goal.
But for Greenwood (6-5) it was the sole chance all night. Southside played a majority of the game in the attacking end. At one point, the Lady Rebels kept Greenwood from crossing midfield with possession for 16 consecutive minutes.
"I can’t say enough about what Rebecca Roebuck has done in the back. Unbelievable job all year keeping that back line," Southside coach Jeremy Davis said. "And Katie Brugger and Kaylee Edwards, they just controlled the middle of the field tonight and that’s what you’ve got to do when you play a good team."
Opportunities were plenty for Southside to take control. Hartness made 17 saves, including a magnificent one on Caroline Pulliam early in the second half to keep the score even. Hannah White’s patrol in front of the Greenwood keeper kept another dozen shots from reaching the target thanks to her clears and blocked shots.
Greenwood coach Chris Young was mostly pleased with the execution defensively, as Southside forward Sydney Walker had precious few of the Lady Rebels’ chances. Young didn’t blame the downpour outright for the two-goal margin, but it certainly didn’t help, he said.
"The weather, the ball slipping and sliding around a bit hurt us in the back," Young said. "They got behind us early and they scored a really pretty first goal. The other two, like I said, the ball rolling around in front and we didn’t get it cleared out. They went harder to it than we did and you hate to lose it that way."
The rain practically stopped at halftime, but its effects were still present. A couple of outfield players crashed to the turf after slipping, both goalkeepers had easy stops fumble away for corner kicks because of the slick ball. Greenwood twice picked up corners because of that in the final 10 minutes, but Roebuck casually dispersed of both.
Beas’ game-opener was about the only pure moment of the match. She sent a sparkling curled shot from near the corner of the box past Hartness’ grasp in the 7th minute. Hayden DePriest tacked on one more precisely 70 minutes later to provide the final score.
Southside avenges their sole Central loss with Tuesday night’s win. Greenwood beat the Lady Rebels on penalties in the teams’ earlier matchup in April.
Rainwater was glowing afterwards.
"Southside versus Greenwood has gotten really hectic the last few years in all sports, not just soccer. It was ‘we’re going to beat them. We’re the better team. We can do this,’" Rainwater said. "It feels amazing."
Southside 5, Greenwood 1
BOYS — It was eerily similar in the boys game. Early, anyway.
Southside (7-3) scored first, in the 10th minute, before Greenwood (3-8) tied it one minute later. Again, like the girls’ game before it, Southside netted the next goal and coasted the rest of the way.
Wesley Carson scored a hat trick and Coady Wooten netted a pair for the Rebels’ scoring.
Carson’s second of his three goals broke the school’s single-season goals record. He stands on 35 with four regular-season games remaining.
"Hopefully 35 will be tough to beat and it’ll be here for a while," Carson said. "But really, it doesn’t really hit me. It’s about winning. It really is. As long as my team is winning, that’s what really matters."
Wooten was initially booked with a yellow card for the second time in the 56th minute before the referee rescinded it, Southside coach David Marshall said. It would have been unfortunate timing had it been official because Wooten would have missed Friday’s game against the Central’s second-place team, Little Rock Catholic.
HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER
Southside 3, Greenwood 1
Greenwood 1 0 — 1
Southside 1 2 — 3
Sou - Beas, 7th minute
Gre - Jones, 8th minute
Sou - Rainwater, 67th minute
Sou - DePriest, 77th minute
Southside 5, Greenwood 1
Greenwood 1 0 — 1
Southside 2 3 — 5
Sou - Carson, 10th minute
Gre - Kelly, 11th minute
Sou - Wooten, 14th minute
Sou - Carson, 43rd minute
Sou - Wooten, 47th minute
Sou - Carson, 60th minute