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Maize South girls soccer improves to 5-0 with a last-minute goal

Published April 8 at 11:56 p.m. | Last updated April 9 at 7:14 a.m.

From the moment the ball struck her foot, Saige Peebler knew she had just delivered a dangerous ball.

The rest was up to fate.

Her heart pulsated as she watched her free kick from 40 yards away sail into the blackness of Tuesday night at Panther Stadium in Derby, then began to pound harder when Peebler realized the arch was true to its target.

It took everyone a second to comprehend what happened next, as Peebler’s shot sailed a foot under the goal post and into the net from 40 yards away with under a minute remaining in double overtime to give Maize South an improbable 2-1 victory over Derby.

Did that really just happen?

“It was just crazy,” Peebler said. “I’ve never had a (game-winner) like that before. It was so amazing.”

Explaining how the Mavericks had turned a certain draw into victory was something no one on the team was concerned with afterward.

All that mattered was Maize South, the team that starts one senior and five freshmen, had extended its unbeaten start to the season to 5-0.

“We’re proud of ourselves, but we’re a humble team,” Maize South senior Madison Adams said. “We know we’re young and we’re still learning and we have a long ways to go. But right now, we’re excited.”

The dramatic finish capped what had been an entertaining and even battle, kicked off in the 45th minute on a goal by Maize South’s Madison Adams from Jena LaValle.

It took Derby 21 minutes, but it found the equalizer when the Mavericks failed to clear an incoming pass off a corner kick, and Hanna Newhouse capitalized on her good fortune by beating the keeper high from 15 yards away.

It was the first goal scored for Derby this season by someone other than Jordan Eickelman or Katie Hartman.

“We’re more than a one-trick pony,” Derby coach Robert Rhodes said. “They’re just the ones getting it right now. People know about them now, so we’re going to have to get it from somewhere else.”

For the next 30-plus minutes, each side had opportunities but never seriously threatened. And when Maize South forward Ryann Burnett drew a foul 40 yards away from goal in the 99th minute, it seemed harmless.

“I just wanted to get something going,” Burnett said. “I knew Saige had a strong foot, so I just wanted to give her a chance.”

Peebler had spent most of the game pushed back as a defensive midfielder, making sure Eickelman and Hartman didn’t get loose in Maize South’s backfield.

Maize South coach Marlon Rios knew she was capable of making an offensive play when presented with the chance.

“She’s an offensive-minded player,” Rios said. “Anything on frame at that stage of the game is good. I was very impressed by her, as a freshman.”

All Peebler needed was a chance.

The rest was up to fate.

“It felt good right when I hit it,” Peebler said. “All I could do after that was just watch and hope for the best.”

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Second half—Maize South, Adams (LaValle); Derby, Newhouse (unassisted). Second overtime—Maize South, Peebler (unassisted). Shots—Maize South 8-7-1-2—18, Derby 3-4-1-1—9. Saves—Maize South, Howard 1-0-1-1—3; Derby, Decristoforo 4-3-0-1—8.