HUNTSVILLE – There was more state soccer tournament magic for the Knowling sisters.
And it helped give Randolph it's second Class 1A-4A girls championship in five years.
Sophomore Abby Knowling headed in a free kick from tournament Most Valuable Player Lauren Lackey for the game's only goal, and the Raiders held on at a wild finish for a 1-0 victory over two-time defending state champion Montgomery Academy on a cloudy Saturday at John Hunt Park.
Knowling's older sister, senior forward Emily, scored the game-winning goal as an eighth-grader during a 1-0 win over Altamont in the 2009 state final.
"It's incredible,'' Abby Knowling said after the sixth-ranked Raiders knocked off the second-ranked Eagles to complete what Randolph had dubbed the Revenge Tour.
Randolph lost to top-ranked Pope John Paul II Catholic, the second-ranked Eagles and No. 3 Guntersville to end the regular season.
To win the championship, the Raiders had to knock off PJPII in the sub-state finals, Guntersville in the semifinals and then Montgomery Academy.
"We told (the Raiders players) that this was our time,'' Chou said. "They stuck with it and kept fighting.''
The Eagles, who out-shot the Raiders 20-5 for the game, however, couldn’t take advantage of a golden opportunity at the end of the match.
Shortly after Randolph players rushed the field to celebrate what they thought was a 1-0 win as the clock hit zero, officials sent them back to the bench and held a meeting.
It was ruled Raiders goalkeeper Daria Zarzeka had fouled freshman Cari Budny, ejected Zarzeka, put .01 back on the clock and awarded Montgomery Academy a penalty kick.
Budny was injured on the play, so Montgomery Academy took the PK against backup keeper Abby Knowling.
The ensuing kick never had a chance, soaring high from impact and well over the goal, touching off Randolph’s second celebration.
"I can't say enough about their program,'' Chou said. "I feel that we have two of the elite programs in the state. I'm just elated.''
Eagles coach Emily Barber said neither she nor her players would comment following the game.
Abby Knowling scored the game-winning goal with 17:41 remaining while the Eagles were a player short following junior defender Elizabeth Bear’s ejection on a direct red card for violent conduct with 26:36 left in the second half.
On the game-winner, Randolph took a free kick from 35-40 yards out. Lauren Lowe, who scored the game-winner off a corner kick by Emily Knowling in a 1-0 overtime win over Guntersville in the semifinals and was named tournament Most Valuable Player, sent the ball on a perfect path into the box where Knowling was waiting.
Knowling re-directed the kick with a header that got past Montgomery Academy keeper Abi Capouya.
In its first Revenge Tour win, Lowe assisted Emily Knowling on a goal in the 70th minute of a 1-0 victory over JPJII in the sub-state finals.
Montgomery Academy (19-1-1) outshot Randolph (14-6-4) 20-5.
Before the final second Zarzeka was brilliant in goal, thwarting several strong scoring threats by the Eagles including once on a penalty kick with 10:35 left in the game when she dove and knocked away Brenna Katz’ attempt to the low-right post.
Zarzeka had six saves and Capouya had two.
Rocket City Sports your online source for high school sports - Huntsville and Madison County