Polar Bears win 2-1 over Hathaway Brown

MACEDONIA  The season of dreams continues for Jackson High School girls soccer. Unflappable sophomore Izzy Arnold came through in the clutch to score the golden goal in overtime, giving the Polar Bears a 2-1 win over Hathaway Brown in a Division I regional final Saturday at Nordonia High School.

The goal came off a corner kick by Jackson senior Lauren Hattery with 10:33 to go. Hattery drilled the ball into a crowd and Arnold headed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner off the net for the game winner. The ball took a couple of odd bounces after the header before finding its way into the net to earn the Polar Bears a regional title.

"I remember hitting it. I don't really remember anything else," Arnold said. "I was just so happy it was over."

Lucky bounces around the goal are part of the game. It was one of the goals Hattery was trying to accomplish when she lined up for the corner kick.

"I was just trying to get it up in the air to someone's head so we could try to score it," Hattery said. "As soon as it went in, I was so excited. I couldn't believe it."

The play capped a gutsy comeback by the Polar Bears. Jackson found itself down 1-0 at the half after a high floater by Mary Santelli put Hathaway Brown in control. Much like they have done all season, the Polar Bears found a way to get back in the game.

"We've only had one game all year where we were down and didn't find a way to respond," Jackson head coach Frank Gagliardi said. "We've had two or three other games, including the first Walsh (Jesuit) game, where we came back to get the draw or the win."

This game was no exception, despite the stakes being higher.

"We're always pretty good about that," Hattery said. "It (trailing early) doesn't get to us. We just keep going. If anything, it motivates us to play harder."

Hattery took it upon herself to make sure that trend continued. She drilled a free kick from 15 yards out for the equalizer with 25:44 remaining in the second half. The shot grazed the center crossbar on its way into the top of the net.

"Lauren's someone I've had the opportunity to coach since she was 10 years old," Gagliardi said. "I've seen her smack balls like that since she was little. No holding back. I've told her that if she feels it to go for the goal and she did."

Hattery's goal ended up sending the game to overtime and setting the stage a trip to state.

"These girls are great," Gagliardi said. "I'd like to believe that all the alumni I've had the chance to coach have set a standard. These girls keep raising that standard. We've had an incredible bunch this year. We're just blessed."

It's a fact that was not lost on Hattery after she helped hoist the regional championship trophy after the game.

"I'm so happy," Hattery said. "I'm so excited to be a part of this. It's my senior year so I couldn't ask for anything more."

Jackson improves to 17-2-2 on the season. The Polar Bears will meet Perrysburg (16-2-3) at a site and time to be determined on Tuesday. Perrysburg defeated Strongsville 4-3 in penalty kicks to qualify for the state semfinals.

Reach Cliff at 330-580-8494

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