By Bruce Robins, Sun Correspondent
NORTH PORT — An Isabelle Rogers goal with just over a minute to play lifted North Port to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Charlotte in a Class 4A-District 11 girls soccer matchup Thursday night.
The Bobcat senior corralled a throw-in and blasted the ball into the upper right corner of the net from 25 yards out as North Port completed its comeback from a 3-0 deficit early in the second half and spoiled a brilliant performance by the Tarpon’s Caitlyn Lowery, who scored all four of Charlotte’s goals.
“It was a nail biter. It was fun,” Bobcat coach Bill Callan said. “This is what we live for. This is what we want. We want good teams and hard competition. They came to play today. We did our best, they did their best, and it was fantastic.”
The only scoring in the first half came off the foot of Lowery, who found the left corner of the net in the tenth minute. Lowery scored again ten minutes later when Bobcat goalkeeper Jordann Kinkin came out to challenge her on a breakaway and left a wide open net, giving the Tarpons a 2-0 lead at halftime.
North Port moved Rogers up to forward in the second half and put Kayla Gordon-Somers in the net. In the opening minute, the Bobcats Hayley Royer hit the post from close range and Charlotte goalie Cheyenne Gaudemer stopped a free kick by Royer. But three minutes into the half, Lowery got loose on a run down the left side and put a shot past Gordon-Somers to make it 3-0.
Despite a decided advantage in shots, North Port couldn’t get on the scoreboard until the 49th minute when Royer converted another free kick from just outside the penalty box. In the 65th minute, Cami McKinley scored from in front on a pass from Alexis Abene on the right side. A minute later, the Bobcats got possession again and Abene headed in the tying goal to make it 3-3.
The Bobcats controlled play for much of the half, but Charlotte finally got the ball into North Port territory and Lowery scored again to put the Tarpons back in front, 4-3, with four minutes to play.
Less than a minute later, the Bobcats got the equalizer as Sam Freitas scored on a rebound, setting the stage for Rogers game-winning kick.
“The ball came from the outside midfield right to me. I turned and shot and kicked it directly into the goal,” Rogers said. “It was a whole team effort and a great second half.”
Despite the outcome, Charlotte coach Amanda Carr was happy with the way the Tarpons played.
“I think our girls proved tonight that they belong here,” Carr said. “3-0 is a nice lead, but it’s just the scoreboard. We’ve got to keep playing our game and putting balls in the back of the net and continue to do that. For us to come in here and stay competitive with this program, I’m really proud of our girls.”
North Port is now 4-4 overall and 3-1 in district play. Charlotte falls to 4-4, 1-3.