Ely Spencer's double-overtime goal lifted Rockbridge County into the Region III playoffs with a 2-1 win over Northside in the third-place match of the Blue Ridge District boys' soccer tournament in Lowmoor on Friday evening.
Spencer, who had scored the game-tying goal with 10 minutes left in regulation, won the match with the 17th goal of his freshman season, ringing a shot inside the top left corner to finish off a beautiful scoring sequence that sent the Wildcats (11-8-0) back to the regional tournament.
Less than two minutes into the start of the first golden-goal double OT period, Luis Ramirez sprayed a textbook long ball that played Kirk Waller through up the left flank. Waller darted to the goal line, and then served a pinpoint pass back to Spencer for the finish.
After a fairly uneventful opening hour, the action picked up significantly in the final 20 minutes of the second half. An own goal gave Northside the lead in the 68th minute, as Bryce Wilson's long throw-in slipped through the fingertips of RCHS goalkeeper Javier Ramirez -- who was staring directly into the sun -- and into the net.
But the Vikings' lead proved to be short-lived. Just two minutes later, Miles Bent dragged in a superb cross from the right corner, and Spencer tapped in the equalizer from inside the 6-yard box.
The Wildcats controlled play throughout the overtime periods, outshooting Northside 5-0 during the extra sessions. Rockbridge County held a 23-8 advantage in shots in the contest, but Viking keeper Zack Large made seven saves to keep the RCHS offense at bay.
Rockbridge County will return to action in the first round of the Region III tournament on Monday. Time, location and opponent will be announced later this weekend.