Girls get by K-Kids to reach the finals
As spectators saw that time was winding down in the District XI girls soccer semifinal between Freedom and Northampton, the Patriots saw the time that was left to tie the game.
“I don’t think I was getting concerned because we’ve come so far this year and had we lost, I would have been disappointed for the girls because they’ve worked so hard and it’s right there in front of us,” said Patriot coach Bob Eaton.
Hannah Werkheiser had put the K-Kids ahead, 1-0, on a header with 4:48 left in the first half, but now, the second half was ticking away into single-digit minutes.
“We changed our formation a little because we were down one goal and the clock was moving, and it paid off right away,” Eaton said.
With 7:30 remaining in regulation, Patriot forward Haley Gschrey took off with the ball, shot, and scored.
“We took one of our defenders back and had a forward come in so we were pushing four up top - me, Katie [Flynn], Abby [Sipel], and Doris [Muncan]. Jade [Hofman] came out, our center back,” said Gschrey. “We felt like we were back in the game. We were really nervous coming into this game, but we wanted it more, I guess. It’s so good. I think the whole team feels so great about this win.”
The 2-1 win came in overtime when Freedom’s Lily Judge scored off a corner by Doris Muncan with 1:58 left.
“I saw it and finished with a small pass in and it went in. I didn’t understand at first. I was like, oh my gosh, this is so exciting,” Judge said. “I think we were tired, but we had to rise above that and say, listen, we know what’s on the line. We’ve never been this far so let’s make history.”
Coach Eaton and the rest of the Patriots saw Judge’s ball go over the line.
“It was funny because we were talking as Doris was taking the corner kick, and one of the other coaches said, ‘Can we jump up and run on the field if we score?’” Eaton shared. “But it’s all about the girls. [Assistant coaches] Mark [Fabey] and Brian [Flynn] will tell you the same thing. The girls deserve the credit. They’ve done all the work. We just kind of move the pieces around a little bit. Basically, they’re having fun, and when they’re having fun and not putting a lot of pressure on themselves, you get good results.”
At the other end of the field was Patriot goalkeeper Megan Raffino who braved many tense moments in the semifinal.
“I really do not know [how I kept it together] it was just a lot of anxiety. We were all kind of nervous. It was good nervous energy, though. We were excited and ready for the next play to happen and keep the ball moving,” Raffino said. “I’m so incredibly proud of everyone. We had a good game tonight and pulled it together at the end and kept finishing the chances we had.”