Chattanooga Lady Red Wolves center back Brittney Reed stepped up for the game-winning penalty kick in the 87th minute with a great boost of confidence and her teammates' support.
Reed provided the difference in the Women's Premier Soccer League Southeast Conference final as she struck the ball with the inside of her right foot to send a one-hopper into the far left corner of the net unchallenged.
Emotions overflowed for the Lady Red Wolves, who overcame a two-score deficit to beat Nashville Rhythm FC 3-2 late Sunday night at David Stanton Field.
"This is a special day for us and our country with the U.S. women winning the World Cup," said Reed, whose second goal of the first-year Lady Red Wolves' season could not have been any bigger. "I really give it to my teammates for having the confidence in me to take that shot, and I am confident on PKs. This is an awesome moment to fight back and win like we did."
Chattanooga's leading scorer this season, Carlie Banks, provided a major jolt late as well with a beautiful strike from 25 yards away that curled right over the Nashville keeper's head in the 83rd minute to even the match.
Banks' score was the former LSU standout's ninth of the season. She embraced her teammates after the thrilling victory in which the Lady Red Wolves had to overcome the scoring prowess of former Ole Miss star Addie Forbus.
"I believe in this group no matter what," Banks said. "We are all friends, and the unity showed in an amazing way tonight. We made it exciting, to say the least. For Brittney to step up in that moment was amazing."
Forbus put forth an electrifying run in the 27th minute as she had defenders chasing at her heels, cutting to the far left of the box, where she sent a shot with her left foot across to the back right corner for the game's first score. Forbus also converted penalty kick to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in the 58th minute.
However, Chattanooga (11-1-2) did not let its season come to an end in a match delayed an hour and a half by lightning.
Hollie Massey read a rebound well off a zooming strike from Hannah Tillett that bounced off the keeper's hand and the top post for the Lady Red Wolves' first score in the 70th minute.
Chattanooga coach Billy Sparks was overjoyed to see his players score three goals in the final 33 minutes and finish off another victory.
"This is all a credit to the girls' attitude, fight and desire," Sparks said. "They fought for this championship, which is well-deserved. The girls kept testing the keeper, and they got a massive reward. For me and my wife to welcome our first child into the world this week and then these girls to finish like they did means everything."
Chattanooga will now try to make a run at a regional championship as it begins play Friday in Pensacola, Florida.