Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

GROVE – After falling behind 2-0 early in the second half, the Grove Ridgerunners staged a late rally that sent the game into overtime and almost saved their playoff hopes. Almost. Despite dominating most of the second half and overtime, the Ridgerunners fell on a golden goal three minutes into double overtime as the Collinsville Cardinals left Ridgerunner Stadium with a 3-2 victory. The loss eliminated the Ridgerunners (4-8 overall, 2-4 in District 5A-4) from playoff contention and marred a spirited comeback over the final 30 minutes of the game. Leading 1-0 at the half, the Cardinals doubled their lead on a fluke goal less than a minute into the second half. From there the second half belonged almost entirely to the Ridgerunners. Andres Caratachea, one of five seniors playing their final home games for Grove, took a pass from Gabe Rodriguez and put one in the back of the net to put Grove on the board with 28 minutes left in the game. The Ridgerunners finally tied the game with 18 minutes left. After a header from Oscar Flores off a throw in bounced off the left post, Jerrod Hayes put home the rebound to finally tie the score. Hayes nearly won the game when his header with two minutes left in regulation sailed over the crossbar, one of several near misses for Grove in the second half. The teams then played a 10 minute, sudden death overtime period that was dominated by the Ridgerunners, with Collinsville only getting one shot during the period. A diving, one-handed save by the Collinsville goalkeeper with six minutes left kept Grove from winning the game. But after being outplayed for nearly 40 minutes, the Cardinals brought the game to a sudden end when a loose ball in front of the net was put home for the game-winning goal, bringing the Ridgerunners’ playoff hopes to a sudden end.   Grove 3, Collinsville 1 (girls) Grove’s Blair Thomas was determined to go out a winner. The senior forward dominated the final 20 minutes of the game, scoring twice to lead the Lady Ridgerunners to the win on Senior Night. Grove took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a goal by Alyssa Linn with 14:43 left in the first half, but the Lady Cardinals tied the game on an own goal off a corner kick with 25 minutes to play. But from there, it was all Thomas. After charging through the middle of the Collinsville defense, Thomas juked past a charging CHS goalkeeper to put Grove ahead 2-1 with 16 minutes to play. Thomas struck again eight minutes later, taking a pass from Jessica Hamilton, beating a Collinsville defender and putting in a second goal with just over nine minutes to play. Thomas nearly completed the hat trick two minutes later only to have the ball tackled away just in front of the CHS goal. The Grove soccer teams will finish their seasons on Thursday when they travel to Pryor to take on the Tigers at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.