La Plata girls soccer edges McDonough in double overtime
Falenofoa scores in 2nd OT, Warriors girls soccer edges Rams
The last thing La Plata head girls soccer coach Kevin Barry wanted Monday night was another tough loss and it appeared his team might be headed that way until Alex Falenofoa had her say.
Falenofoa scored on a header in the 91st minute to carry the visiting Warriors to a 3-2 double overtime win over host McDonough at the Lesley W. Cook Athletic Complex in a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Potomac Division contest.
Falenofoa took a ball from teammate Taryn Ging and headed it into the left corner past McDonough goalkeeper Alex Hebb in the first minute of the second extra period.
“I saw that we were forward on our offensive side of the field and when I looked up, my [teammate] was able to get it to me,” Ging said. “I was able to beat the [defender] and then I saw Alex at the far post so I sent it and she finished it like in practice.”
“Once I saw Taryn at the corner I thought, ‘I have to get there, I have to get there,’” said Falenofoa in one of her first games at forward. “Once I was there I knew I had to use my body so I just stuck my head in there. One of the greatest feelings ever.”
One of the greatest feelings ever, but to La Plata (3-3, 2-0 Potomac), also a ton of relief after some tough losses to open the season. The Warriors dropped a double overtime decision to Calvert in their season opener and then fell 3-2 on a last-minute goal to Leonardtown.
“We’ve been on the tough end of some games and [tonight] we finally won a tough one,” Barry said. “They’ve been motivated to work through it and to keep fighting hard and they came out tonight and they answered back when they met adversity and we got a ‘W.’”
McDonough (2-3, 0-2) has averaged 4.0 goals per game in its two wins and just 0.66 in its losses, including shutouts at the hands of North Point and Chopticon.
“We played well and we had opportunities to finish and we didn’t finish and they finished in overtime,” McDonough head coach David Bradshaw said. “That’s what it comes down to in an overtime game, the team that takes advantage of its opportunities. We thought we gave everything we had and I’m proud of the effort, but we couldn’t get the ball in the net.”
“All the credit to McDonough, they fought until the end,” Barry said. “That’s a talented team, and they’re going to be a tough team this season for whoever else plays them.”
Despite six corner kicks, five to La Plata, neither team managed to score in the first half.
“We came out and I think we were real excited and a bit nervous that first half,” Barry said. “We had spurts where we were executing and then they were playing really well, and we talked at halftime that we had to respond with our style of soccer. And we did.
The Warriors opened the scoring in the 51st minute when Julia Simpson lofted a 35-yard free kick into the far corner of the net.
Just 67 seconds later, Kaitlyn Fitzsimmons raced down the right side and steered the ball into the far corner.
“Kaitlyn’s had a phenomenal season so far,” Barry said of the junior forward, “and she came in and worked well and she got a great goal there.”
McDonough refused to concede defeat and cut the deficit to one when Lauren Haley pounced on a loose ball in the box and drilled the ball into the corner. Just moments earlier, Haley was robbed of a goal when La Plata goalkeeper Mackenzie Higdon dove across the box and batted away what appeared to be a sure goal.
Five minutes later, Drew Anderson connected from the top of the box to tie the game at 2.
The Warriors are next scheduled to play host to Thomas Stone at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“The SMAC is always competitive and we need to remember that no lead is ever easy,” Barry said. “A team like McDonough you can’t give them a chance because they’re going to take more and they did that. [But] we responded and said, ‘We’re not going to lose another [tough] one.’”
“I think we just got a little overconfident, which we’ve tended to do in some of our games,” Ging said, “but this is one we really wanted so we just pushed through until the end.”
The Rams are scheduled to be back in action hosting McDonough at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“I’m always pleased with my girls; we’ve played hard all year,” Bradshaw said. “My girls are fighters, they play hard, I’m proud of them, I don’t want any other girls, I love every one of them and I’ll continue to grow with them. It’s just the way it is. We’re a very talented soccer team. I don’t think anything’s holding us back now. We just need to continue to push on.”
McDonough’s Kennedy Bradshaw, left, and La Plata’s Alex Falenofoa race toward a loose ball in Monday night’s game at McDonough. Falenfoa scored the game-winning goal in the first minute of the second overtime to give the Warriors a 3-2 win.
La Plata’s Taryn Ging, left, and McDonough’s Elizabeth Saoud battle for possession during Monday night’s game at McDonough. Ging assisted on the eventual game-winning goal to give the Warriors a 3-2 double overtime win.