Hurricane Girls Soccer takes 2-1 OT Win
Kaylee Williams with OT winner in first minute of OT
By John Seaver
For most of the fall, Vermont high school athletic teams played their games in unusually nice weather conditions. Friday at Maxfield? Not so much. Under rainy, dark skies the Hartford girls soccer team finished their regular season schedule needing a win to have an outside chance at a top 4 playoff seed, but more importantly they needed a strong home win to provide momentum heading into the playoffs. What they got was a well earned 2-1 OT win over visiting Green Mountain Valley School.
After a sluggish first 30 minutes where neither team really threatened, the Hurricanes began to break things open in the final 10 minutes of the first half with some long passes to senior Belle Leister and freshman Abbie Koff doing some fine work deep down the right sideline and making several nice crosses.
Then in the 37' the Hurricanes took the lead. midfielder Maddie Koff flicked a header off a goal kick to Leister, who chipped a shot over the GMVS keeper for the 1-0 lead that the Hurricanes would take into the half.
Then the heavy rain came & for the first 15 minutes on the second half, the girls played in a downpour. However, the Canes kept the pressure on GMVS with Leister, Koff & Sarah Jones getting multiple chances. Jones missed wide right twice & Koff drilled the post. "The girls did a nice job today focusing on the present, and blocking out distractions of weather, field conditions, referees & opponents. We talk all the time about playing the game 5 seconds at a time and adding it up at the end." said coach Jeff Acker.
But Green Mountain did not go away and started to swing the momentum their way midway through the 2nd half and with 10 minutes left, scored the equalizer to make it 1-1.
The Canes came close to the game winner several times in the waning minutes but for the 7th time in 14 games, they needed overtime to decide the game. However, OT was short lived. A handball call on GMVS gave the Canes a direct kick in the right corner just 40 seconds in & defender Lyndsie Rice got the call to take the direct kick. Late in the 2nd half it looked like Rice had scored when her perfectly placed in-swinger corner kick hit the opposite side net but Kaylee Williams was called for a foul in the box negating the goal. This time the out-swinger landed in the box at Williams feet and she left no doubt, trapping the ball before slamming it into the net for the OT game winner.
"It was great to see the things we have been working on in practice pay dividends today. We have talked about how important restarts are in close games and we converted on one today." said Acker.
Hartford finishes the year at 7-3-4 and assures themselves a 4, 5 or 6 seed (depending on results from U32 & Montpelier) and a home playoff game next week. Playoff brackets will be announced by the VPA on Monday.
Category 5 Hurricane Player of the Game: Tough call as Lyndsie Rice, Abbie Koff & Kaylee Williams all had solid games, but this game it goes to Belle Leister. Said Acker "Belle has been working very hard on finishing after getting stoned on several breakaways recently. She did exactly what she has been doing in practice and converted a well deserved goal."
Follow me on Twitter @John_K_Seaver for playoff seedings and the time and date of the girls opening round playoff game.