Last year, after two extra time periods, Niceville and Navarre settled the district title through penalty kicks. This season, the Raiders had only two losses going into the District final and one of those losses was at the hands of Niceville. On paper it looked like a great match-up.
On Jan 15, the second-seeded Raiders traveled to Niceville to take on the top-seeded Eagles.
The difference in the game occurred in the 7th minute. The Raiders fouled an Eagle player at midfield. Niceville was awarded a direct kick from 35 yards away from the Navarre goal. The kick bounced once about 5 yards away from the raider keeper, Julianna DeSalle. It was the kind of save that DeSalle had made hundreds of times However, this time, the ball took a bad hop and eluded DeSalle landing in the net, giving the Eagles a 1 – 0 lead. That goal turned out to be the only score of the game,
The Raiders had two other close calls when Eagle shots bounced off the goal posts.
The Raider defense played extremely well. Brenda Bishop, Mariah McKinney, Kaylynn Ennis and Haylee Howard ran down Eagle attacks.
Although the Raider offense never gave up, they could not break through the packed-in Eagle defense.
Read the full story in the Jan. 21 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.