After Ashlynn Jones' goal with 1 minute, 44 seconds remaining gave the Pickerington High School North girls soccer team a 1-0 win over Dublin Coffman in a Division I regional semifinal Nov. 1, coach Greg Van Kannel said the only thing more exciting would have been a golden goal.
Jones, a senior forward, delivered less than 48 hours later.
Jones' goal with 10:34 remaining in the second 15-minute overtime of a regional final against Dublin Jerome on Nov. 3 gave the Panthers a 1-0 win and sent them into their second state tournament in three years.
"This is what you dream about. The golden goal is so fun," Van Kannel said. "It was a tough game. It could have gone either way. Give (Jerome) a lot of credit. They have great players and a great coach. We got lucky today. We'll take it."
North, which improved to 19-0-2, played Mason in a state semifinal Nov. 6 at Bellbrook. The winner plays Perrysburg or Strongsville in the state final at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Crew Stadium. Perrysburg was 21-0 and Strongsville was 19-2 entering the week.
Jones and senior forward Dani Wenger, who broke her nose against Coffman, combined to score the winning goal against Jerome. Jones passed the ball to Wenger in the corner and Wenger then crossed a pass back to Jones, who headed a shot over Celtics goalkeeper Kelsey Larsen, setting off North's celebration.
The goal was Jones' 25th of the season.
"That was a very big goal," said Jones, a Memphis recruit. "We worked hard for that one and I'm just so happy. This was a tough game."
Jerome missed a prime scoring chance in the first overtime, as Lindsay Agnew sent a shot wide of the open net with 45 seconds left. Jerome also had a good scoring opportunity late in regulation, only to see a close-range shot by Sabine Chandler stopped by North goalkeeper Heather Laeufer.
North had two unexpected days off last week when the regional semifinal was postponed from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 because of bad weather. The Panthers worked inside and brushed up on fundamentals, Jones said.
"We just prepared very well. We did more tactic and basic skills," she said. "We played inside and we worked on basic skills and we played on turf because that's what you're mainly supposed to do this time of year."
The shutout win was North's 15th of the season.
"We're very, very hungry (for postseason success)," Laeufer, a senior and Central Michigan recruit, said in mid-October.
"We were state runner-up (in 2010, when North lost 3-0 to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit in the Division I state final) but we want it all this year. We've been working really, really hard to do that."