NATICK — For the Newton South girls’ soccer team, a 2-1 overtime victory against Whitman-Hanson in Thursday night’s Division 1 South Sectional semifinals was extra sweet.
Whitman-Hanson had knocked Newton South out of the tournament in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
But the second-seeded Lions reversed the trend when junior Audrey Lavey headed home a corner from sophomore Cassie Lee eight minutes into overtime to seal Newton South’s victory at Natick High School.
“I just remember thinking, ‘This needs to go in, and I need to do it,’” Lavey said after the game. “I was able to get my head on it . . . It was just crazy.”
The Lions (20-1), as a result, advanced to their first appearance in the sectional finals in school history and will face No. 5 seed King Phillip (19-1-2), a 2-1 winner over top-seeded Natick, at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at Whitman-Hanson High School.
Whitman-Hanson (17-2-2) took a 1-0 lead in the 65th minute off a goal from senior captain Eve Montgomery. Montgomery laced a shot on the ground from outside the right corner of the box that beat Newton South freshman keeper Olivia Dubin.
It looked as if Whitman-Hanson’s streak of dominance would continue, but the Lions finally pulled it together in the final minute of play.
Sophomore midfielder Lucy Jenks headed home the equalizer off a throw from classmate Larissa Williams just before the final whistle.
“When you’re running corners and you’re running long throws like that, anything can happen,” said Newton South coach Doug McCarthy, in his 19th season with the Lions. “In this particular case, it went in our favor.”
McCarthy lauded his team’s persistence after falling behind by a goal — a position the Lions haven’t been in too often this season.
“They’ve dug down and come back and scored the goals when we needed it,” McCarthy said.Matthew MacCormack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @m_maccormack.