What was their shortest season ever as far as the number of matches played may have left what will be the longest-lasting memories for the Washington-Liberty Generals, regarding accomplishments.
Those achievements included a first-time Liberty District championship for the girls high-school field hockey team, a first-time runner-up finish in the 6D North Region Tournament, a 10-3 overall record for the high-school squad, a nine-match winning streak, and seven shutouts, which included six straight entering the region-tourney final.
Washington-Liberty’s season ended April 17 with a 4-0 loss to the undefeated, unscored-on and host Madison Warhawks in that region-tournament championship. Madison (13-0) scored three quick goals within the first five minutes of the match to take control, then added a fourth in the second half.
“It was pretty awesome to get to this game,” said W-L coach Beth Prange, who has coached the team for 14 seasons. “That’s a really experienced and good team. We were surprised when they got those early goals. But we showed a lot of heart and kept up our intensity, played and executed better after that and played hard until the end.”
Melina Axelrad and Ashley Kennedy took shots on goal for W-L in the first half, and the team got a couple of more in the final two quarters.
Washington-Liberty was 2-1 in the region tournament. After receiving a first-round bye for winning the district, the Generals blanked Chantilly, 2-0, in the quarterfinals on the W-L field, then nipped host Marshall, 1-0, in the semifinals.
Gillian Doherty scored the two goals against Chantilly, with Kennedy having one assist. Against Marshall, Kennedy scored and Mary Superata assisted. Washington-Liberty goalie Jantara McCormick made two saves against Chantilly and four versus Marshall.
Charleston Couture was chosen the Player of the Game by her peers against Marshall for her defense.
The regular season began for W-L with a 1-0 victory over South Lakes, followed by losses to defending district, region and state champion Langley, then Yorktown. The Generals rebounded by winning their next nine matches (outscoring those opponents, 18-3), including 1-0 revenge victories over Langley and Yorktown, to reach the region finals.
“Overall, it was our best season,” Prange said.
With a young team that included seven sophomores, Prange said it took the Generals a while to get going. Then W-L hit its stride, with the wins over Langley and Yorktown huge confidence builders.
Sophia Brodsky and Clara Grimmelbein were other top scorers for Washington-Liberty. Marina Matkovsky and Ana Secrest were other top offensive players. Reina Cooper a leading defender and Charlotte Weir and Fiona Williams were big contributors.
Madison advances to the Class 6 state tournament. In past seasons before this current pandemic campaign, the region-tournaments top two teams played in the state tourney, so Washington-Liberty is unlucky and loses out on that opportunity.
NOTES: The Generals had lost in the Liberty District-tourney finals twice, including in 2019. There was no district tournament this season. The regular-season winner was considered the league champion . . . Washington-Liberty won the National District championship in 2011 and 2013 under Prange . . . Chosen first-team all-region for W-L this season were Kennedy, McCormick and Lucy Stanley and Superata made second team. Prange was chosen the region’s Coach of the Year.