Came through in clutch

Casey Gregg (13) scored one of Fort Payne’s five goals in a shootout.

Another day, another tight match between Fort Payne and Arab.

And once again, the Lady Wildcats found a way to win.

No. 8-ranked Fort Payne converted all five of its kicks in a shootout and downed No. 7 Arab 1-0 in Class 5A, Area 7 high school soccer action at Wildcat Stadium.

With the win, Fort Payne (12-6-1, 5-1) clinched a playoff spot and can claim the area title with a victory by two or more goals at No. 9 Southside on Thursday.

Fort Payne won at Arab 5-4 on Monday, but it took the Lady Cats some time to find their top gear in the rematch.

“Overall, we were very flat in the first half and I was very concerned,” Fort Payne coach Phil Elton said. “We talked at halftime about raising the level of energy in the second half, and we did that. But it was still a very closely fought contest. It could have gone either way.”

Taylor Williams, Casey Gregg, Madi Clark, Britny Cox and Jordan Pendergrass scored for Fort Payne in the shootout after the teams played 80 minutes of regulation and two five-minute, sudden-death overtime periods.

“A penalty shootout reduces things from a team game to a 1 vs. 1 situation,” Elton said. “There’s nothing more high pressure than having to execute at that point, and our girls were magnificent.”

Fort Payne keeper Rachel Lester saved Arab’s fourth shot in the shootout, setting up the Lady Cats to claim the win.

The Lady Cats prevailed despite being outshot 15-12. Lester closed with 10 saves.

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