MACON — Despite a hat trick from the nation’s leading scorer, Commerce could not hold three separate leads in a tough 6-4 loss in overtime to Social Circle in the Class A Public state championship match on Tuesday at Mercer Stadium.
It was the third meeting of the season between the two Region 8-A foes, who split a pair of regular season matchups. The rubber-match was as good as advertised.
Commerce (21-2) led 1-0 on an Ivy Tolbert goal in the opening minute and later led 3-1 late in the first half on Tolbert’s third goal, her 104th of the season, in the 31st minute.
But the Lady Redskins (22-1) had Peyton Brooks, who matched Tolbert and added a fourth in the overtime period to seal the game in the final minute. Brooks scored a goal with two minutes left in the first half to pull Social Circle within 3-2 at the half.
The Lady Redskins continued to pressure the Commerce defense early in the second half as Alana Ferguson tied the match with a chip goal in the 53rd minute. But the Lady Tigers reclaimed the lead, 4-3, on a Chloe Diaz goal with just 11 minutes left.
But Commerce couldn’t hold it as Brooks scored again to tie it at 4 with 7:01 left. Regulation ended at a 4-4 stalemate.
Social Circle took its first lead four minutes into the OT on a PK that also resulted in Commerce being forced to play a player down. The Lady Tigers never recovered.
It was the first-ever trip to the state finals for the Lady Tigers, who were playing in just their fourth-ever season at the varsity level.