HURRICANE — Defense was the name of the game in Hurricane’s Mountain State Athletic Conference girls soccer title game against George Washington on Thursday evening.
The No. 1-seeded Redskins and the No. 2-seeded Patriots failed to score in regulation before Hurricane prevailed 3-2 in penalty kicks to win the MSAC title at Hurricane.
Hurricane is now 12-0-4 (6-0-2 MSAC) and GW is 12-1-3 (6-0-2 MSAC).
“[George Washington is] a super-good team and we knew going in that it’s a game that could go either way,” Hurricane coach Shelly Young said. “I was proud of the girls because some of the stuff I think were weaknesses the first time we played them we fixed.”
“I think that both teams played very well,” GW coach Ali Sadeghian said. “It was a good game. It was good for us to play [Hurricane], they’re very good. There’s a good reason they are ranked as high as us.”
With the game tied at the end of regulation, both coaches agreed to forgo traditional overtime and go straight to penalty kicks to save energy and avoid injury as the SSAC does not recognize overtime or PK shootouts in regular-season play.
Hurricane outshot GW 11-8 but the Patriots had six shots on goal while the Redskins had five. Hurricane goalkeeper Maddie Willis tallied six saves and GW keeper Madison Adkins saved five shots. Adkins now has 11 clean sheets this season while Willis has nine.
“I thought my defense did great, I was super-proud of them,” Young said. “I looked at my assistant coach and said ‘If I had to pick a player of the game it would be one of the defenders or the goalie.’”
In penalty kicks, GW’s Reagan Bromiley took the first shot, which she missed off the upper post. Hurricane’s Avery Hale was up next and her shot went to the left of Adkins for a goal to give the Redskins a 1-0 advantage.
Jenna Barnett evened things up for the Patriots and, after Ayla Assi’s shot was blocked by Adkins, Sophia Chugha’s goal put the Patriots ahead 2-1. However, the Patriots missed the next two shots and the Redskins capitalized.
Madison Francis tied the shootout at 2 before Mady Jo Lundsford ripped a shot by Adkins to give the Redskins a 3-2 shootout win.
“We were very confident with our PK kickers,” Young said. “We have about 11 that we trust to take them. [Mady Jo] brought it home for her team and that’s the kind of kid she is.”
In their first matchup on Sept. 21, the Redskins and Patriots played to a 1-1 draw. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see these teams face off for a rematch in the postseason where a draw isn’t possible.
“Best-case scenario, we see them at the state tournament,” Young said. “Overall, I feel like this is positive as we are ending our season and getting ready for the playoffs. I’m happy with where we’re at. We need to work a little bit on offensive chemistry.”