The Gainesville (8-3, 5-1) senior, whose been battling through torn ACLs since her sophomore year, overcame an injury that greatly hinders her range of motion to make a diving stop going to her left on a penalty kick and ensure her team a 5-2 win over Chestatee in penalty kicks on Thursday night at City Park.
"Evelyn’s (Murray) been gutting it out," Gainesville coach Mark Wade said. "It’s a great thing that she’s played in hundreds of soccer games over the course of her career and us having a senior back there in goal really gives us confidence in situations like this (a game ending in penalty kicks)."
Raquel Castillo, Gisselle Lopez, Laura Demby and Drew-Blakely Whitmire each hit penalty kicks for Gainesville with Whitmire’s being the winning shot.
"We work on penalty kicks once a week during a 15-20 minute session," Wade said. "I should probably put more emphasis on it than I do, but I don’t. We have, however, had a new emphasis on them recently because we lost to Flowery Branch (Feb. 29) on penalty kicks."
Defensive prowess on both sides of the field and stellar play by each team’s goalkeepers kept the first half scoreless.
Murray had six saves in the first half and Chestatee (4-6, 1-1) goalie Sarah Brothers had five.
"We played well at times," Wade said. "I was proud of our effort. The girls worked hard and I don’t know if we win that game without great work ethic."
The 0-0 tie was broken in the 12th minute when Gainesville’s Castillo kicked a shot into the left corner of the goal just past the outstretched arms of Brothers.
The Lady War Eagles chance to tie the game at one came in the 34th minute when Lauren Ables went to the line with a penalty kick opportunity.
Ables name was a good foreshadowing of her ability to score under pressure as the Chesatee forward kicked a line-drive ball into the right corner of the net.
Both Gainesville and Chestatee did, in the final 14 minutes of the game, have opportunities to score.
A wide-open shot from just outside the box sailed left of the net, richocheting off the near post of the goal for Gainesville while Murray came up big for her team in goal sliding out on a Megan Fligg breakaway to get her hands on the ball as Fligg was attempting to change direction.
"We shifted our defense around a lot because of Fligg," Wade said. "I put an athletic girl on her because I knew if I didn’t her taking over was inevitable.
"We have some seniors that have really stepped up and decided to lead and I think it showed tonight."