ONEIDA | It’s never over until the final whistle blows.
Kingston appeared to have scored a come-from-behind win over Oneida in Thursday’s season-opener. But when Kamryn Kennedy found an open net on a header off a corner kick with seven seconds remaining, the script was flipped, as the Lady Indians forced a 5-5 tie with the Lady Jackets.
In a match featuring two state tournament hopefuls, Oneida led most of the way. The Lady Indians scored just six minutes in when Claire Burress scored off a Kennedy assist. Then Oneida went up 2-0 when Aliyah Douglas scored off an assist by Alexea Jones.
Kingston answered Douglas’s goal, and then Douglas scored again on an unassisted goal late in the first half to give her team a 3-1 lead. After a score by the Lady Jackets, it was 3-2 at halftime.
With her two first half goals, Douglas moved into a tie for second place on Oneida’s career goals list, with 55.
The second half saw Kingston appear to take over, with two goals in the first eight minutes to take its first lead of the night.
But then Jones scored on an unassisted goal to tie the game, 4-4, 10 minutes into the half.
That’s the way it stood until Kingston scored with just over a minute remaining to grab a 5-4 lead.
Then, with the seconds winding down, Kennedy scored on a header off a Douglas corner kick to tie the game.
Oneida coach Phil Newport said the late goal was “luck,” but said he liked his team’s effort to dig deep when it mattered most.
“To be frank, I knew Kingston would play motivated and through much of the game their energy gave us trouble,” Newport said. “We did not communicate well but should work on that going forward.”
Newport was not happy with the way his team played overall.
“Defense will be a priority before (we play) Anderson County,” he said. “We gave up too much in the back. We will tighten that up because we left Ayla (Sims, goalkeeper) on an island a couple of times, which we cannot do.”