by JOEY PICKEL, for the Sun Gazette
The Yorktown Patriots’ multi-season unbeaten streak in girls soccer came to an end June 7 when they lost to the visiting McLean Highlanders, 8-7, in the championship game of the Liberty District Tournament.
In the first half, McLean was firing on all cylinders. A mere 10 minutes into the high-school match, senior Kyra Bolden scored a quick goal, putting the Mustangs ahead 1-0. Bolden then added two more scores, giving McLean a 3-0 lead.
The Patriots (11-1) had plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half, but fell victim to excellent goalie play by McLean’s Eliza Hager. She made seven first-half saves.
At halftime, Yorktown coach Hannah Davis emphasized the fundamentals of ball distribution, and how the little stuff would eventually add up into results.
“The thing I tell my players is to win the 50-50 balls and make simple passes,” Davis said. “So I think you build your confidence a little bit, playing a bit more physical and making an easier pass, and just taking more shots on goal.”
In the second half, Yorktown looked more polished offensively. Moria Flynn was finally able to find the goal by sneaking a bobbled shot into the net, putting the Patriots on the board, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Soon after Flynn’s score, Yorktown junior Nora Green Orset launched a 40-yard shot that somehow found the back of the net, shrinking the advantage to 3-2. There was a quick and evident change in momentum, and the Patriots started to run with that edge.
Shay Montgomery tied the match at 3 with a sneaky goal scored only seconds after entering the game as a substitute. The 3-3 score lasted throughout the rest of regulation.
In the overtime periods, minimal shots were taken at first, thanks to the good defense by both teams. Later, when more shots were attempted, neither team scored. So the match went into a penalty-kick shootout tied at 3.
It took seven shootout rounds to determine the winner, with the winning goal eventually tallied by McLean’s Faith Whare.
Entering the upcoming region tournament, Davis retains great confidence in her team.
“We’re going to be sad and mad about it, but now we’re focusing on Thursday [first-round region match],” Davis said. “We’re still in it, just as much as if we would’ve won and gotten that district title. So, we’re focusing on Thursday now.”
Top seed Yorktown was 1-1 in the district tournament, defeating Langley, 6-0, in the semifinals.
Green Orsett led the way with two goals and Montgomery had a goal and an assist.