Hillsboro's Rylie Scott and McClain's Abby Mustard fight for possession during the Highland County rivalry game Tuesday at HHS. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Hillsboro's Rylie Scott and McClain's Abby Mustard fight for possession during the Highland County rivalry game Tuesday at HHS. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
HILLSBORO — The old saying a “tale of two halves” was evident Tuesday night, as the host Hillsboro Lady Indians battled back from a three-goal deficit against their Frontier Athletic Conference foe and Highland County counterpart McClain, resulting in a 3-3 tie at Hillsboro High School. 

The FAC contest saw the Lady Tigers score three goals from the 25:42 mark of the first half to the 12:14 mark, building a 3-0 lead. 

McClain’s first goal was from Luca Matesic with 25:42 on the first half clock, putting McClain ahead by a 1-0 score. The Lady Tigers added a second goal around three minutes later, with Kenzie Anderson putting the ball into the back of the net, resulting in a two-goal lead with 22:31 left in the opening half of conference action, with the assist credited to Matesic.

The Lady Tigers weren’t finished with their third and final goal of the half and game coming with 12:14 on the clock, this one being the second goal by Matesic. Also for McClain, Bailey Parson had one assist in the first half.

It looked as though McClain was going to have a three-goal lead going into halftime, but Hillsboro had other plans as their comeback began with Gracie Thoroman converting a penalty kick with 4.0 seconds left in the opening half, making it a 3-1 score at halftime. 

“We got off to a really good start, and this is our first road game in a couple weeks,” MHS head coach Tyler Carman said. “We’ve been struggling offensively as a group, so it was great to score three goals in the first half. For the first 39:56 of the first half we played great, and then I think we gave up that penalty and came out in the second half. 

“We told the girls they have to be more mentally tough, but overall I thought we played really well. At the end of the day, it was a tie and not a loss, but it was definitely a game we wanted to win. This is the best team we’ve ever had. We are a deep team with a lot of skill players. We just have break through that wall and figure out how to play with a lead and how to finish games.”

Carman spoke about some players who stood out in the tie game.

“Sophie Humphrey played her best game, and she’s a freshman. She played confident and played aggressive, and went to the ball,” Carman said. “She did a lot of nice things for us. Also, Kenzie Anderson plays left wing and hustles non-stop and is tough as nails.”

Hillsboro in the second half had a yellow card go against them, but that’s when the play of the Lady Indians improved from the first 40 minutes of action because the defense of the Lady Indians held McClain scoreless in the second half, and the offense of HHS controlled the ball for a majority of the second half as well. 

“We struggled to show up to play in the first half, but the second half we played much better and got the goals back,” HHS head coach Amanda Miller said. “We keep coming to practice working hard every day and keep improving. We keep improving on the things that we notice during game we can improve on. We made a lot of changes on the field where kids are playing to keep improving on defense and getting the ball to the back of the net.”

HHS made it a one-goal deficit with 37:33 left in regulation as Hannah Holland scored a goal with the assist by Thoroman for a 3-2 score. 

The third Lady Indians goal — the game-tying goal — went past the keeper with 23:55 left on the clock at HHS when Peighton Bledsoe scored with the assist from Rylie Scott for what ended up being the final goal of the game and a 3-3 score. 

“We had freshman Kobie Miles with six defensive stops for the game and Maddie Hollen came in with four defensive stops,” Miller said. “They both came up big and saved us quite a few times. Kobie, we just recently moved her to sweeper, and she’s doing a tremendous job. We have our junior captains Gracie Thoroman and Rylie Scott at center-mid doing a great job. Also, our keeper Kinsey Gilliland has made some amazing saves for us, and this was her first game back from injury.

“We have a lot of things we need to improve on, and hopefully after practice we put all those things together and get ready for our game against Jackson.”

Hillsboro now stands at 2-5-1 overall, while McClain moves to 2-4-2.