CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Katie Ford was on the ground and all she could do was watch and hope as the ball crept toward the goal in the fourth overtime.
The South Side sophomore had returned to the game for less than a minute when she headed the ball over Somers goalkeeper Beth Coppolecchia at the top of the 18-yard box.
Somers defenders raced to clear it out but the ball made it in as Ford's winner with 1:01 left sent South Side to a thrilling 1-0 victory in the Class A girls soccer state championship Sunday at Homer High School.
"I was down but I picked up my head and it was crawling," Ford said. "I saw the girl going. I was like, 'I hope she doesn't get it,' but it went in.
"I can't describe the feeling. It was incredible."
Had Ford's header not gone in and there was no scoring after that, the teams would have finished in a tie and been named co-champions.
Ford came in for Christina Klaum with two minutes left in the fourth overtime period after Klaum got tangled up with a Somers defender and was knocked to the ground and cut her lip. Klaum was named finals MVP for South Side (15-2-4), which won its 16th state title.
"I needed to do everything I could to give my effort for Christina. My goal was for Christina," Ford said. "She worked so hard the entire season. She was one of the best players on our team and the other team hurt her."
South Side coach Shannon McEntee said she had no doubt who to put in for her injured star forward.
"Katie has been having phenomenal practices. Every time we put her into the game she makes stuff happen," McEntee said. "It wasn't even a thought. She knew she was going in."
The teams were evenly matched for all 109 minutes. The first half was back and forth and Klaum dropped from forward to midfield to help set the pace. The second half was more physical and defensive as both teams played it safe.
Tessa Considine sent a 41-yard free kick into the box that Klaum headed on goal but was stopped by Coppolecchia (11 saves) on the goal line with 3:42 left in the first overtime period. Sam Ford led the stingy South Side defense and Kelsey Berki made 10 saves.
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