The breakthrough that Polk County needed Wednesday never came. The bad break it didn’t want did.
A late call that all sides labeled an error shut down Polk County’s comeback hopes and gave Owen a clinching goal in a 2-0 win at G.M. Tennant Stadium that likely decided the Western Highlands Conference regular-season championship.
Owen improved to 10-1-1, 6-0 with the win, with Polk County dropping to 7-7, 4-2. The Warhorses now lead Polk and Madison by two games with four to play and own a season sweep of the Wolverines.
There’s no guarantee that Polk County would have found a tying goal in the final minutes; Owen held the Wolverines scoreless in both meetings this season. But the ruling with 4:24 remaining of a Polk foul in the penalty area, the call coming as players from both teams converged on a loose ball, gave the Warhorses a penalty kick, which Camryn Bolick converted for the two-goal lead.
It also brought Polk County head coach Lennox Charles far onto the field in protest, Charles drawing a yellow card in the process.
But the Wolverine head coach was less concerned after the match about the foul than the missed chances that Polk County didn’t convert.
“There was much of the game where we had positional advantage,” Charles said. “We had the ball in their half a lot. But other than the first 15 and the last 15, we just weren’t as dangerous as we needed to be offensively.”
The Wolverines had a couple of scoring opportunities sail just wide in the opening few minutes. Polk also had a Kendall Hall header in the 71st minute just stopped.
Bolick gave Owen the only goal it would need in the 20th minute, tucking a shot just inside the right post.
“We knew they would look good and they did,” Charles said. “They have one or two more difference makers than we do at this point.”
Polk County hosts Avery on Monday in another WHC matchup.