In a span of four minutes on May 13, the Green Hope girls soccer teams season-long brilliance and its state championship aspirations unraveled.
After seeing a handful of shots come within inches of the goal in the first half against Broughton, the Capitals broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute. And before the Falcons had a chance to regroup, Broughton knocked in another one in the 47th.
If it was just that one, the girls can rally, get themselves going and keep attacking and keep the aggressiveness they had in the first half, said Green Hope coach Bobby Peterson. When that second goal went in, as much as they were hoping to keep it going, I think they really got down once that happened and a little despair set in.
Though the Falcons punched one in late, Broughton scored twice more in the second half to win 4-1 and end the Falcons season in the third round of the NCHSAA 4-A soccer tournament.
Green Hope (18-3-1) outshot Broughton 20-13. Most of the first half was spent in the Capitals end, but the Falcons scoring touch, which allowed them to outscore opponents 100-19 this season, was just a tad off.
Five minutes in, Broughton goalkeeper Alex Perry punched a Taylor Rovito shot over the frame.
In the 24th minute, Rovitos header, thanks to fine service from Maggie McLaughlin, went inches wide.
In first-half stoppage time, Rovito did all the work and found Ashley Stokes streaking in from the left side. Rovito laid it off for Stokes, but Perry punched the shot from 12 yards away.
The first half, it seemed like we were watching them and chasing them, versus trying to hold on to the ball and play, said Broughton coach Izzy Hernandez. It got a little better toward the end of the first half. But definitely, we were chasing and really withstood some chances early on.
In the 42nd minute, Perry came out to stop a shot by Nicole Danford. The rebound popped out to McLaughlin but her follow-up attempt was denied by a defender before it reached the open goal.
We were all over them, Peterson said. That ball just couldnt get in the back of the net. You let a good team stay in it, theyre going to make you pay for it. And they definitely did that to us tonight.
In the 43rd minute, Broughtons Casey Kilburns arching header was expertly placed out of the reach of Green Hope goalkeeper Kristin Westerhorstmann to break the scoreless deadlock after 43 minutes of play.
Four minutes later, Alexis Miller won a 50-50 ball near the penalty spot after Green Hope failed to clear a corner kick and headed it in as Westerhorstmann came out to try to win the ball.
Faced with having to score two goals in 37 minutes against a team that hadnt given up two goals in a game all season, the Falcons threw numbers forward.
But that only opened them up to counterattack, and Broughton capitalized twice more.
With 17 minutes to play, Kilburn sprung free Erin Rahl. Rahl touched the ball and then got a half-step on Green Hope defender Chelsea Garber. As they reached the box, Westerhorstmann came out and stopped the initial shot. But Megan Eberle, trailing the play on the back post, collected the loose ball and dumped it in the net.
Reilly Brown got one back for the Falcons in the 73rd minute, masterfully heading in a throw-in by Haley Rafols.
I was impressed that they battled back to get the goal, but at that stage, we were pushing everything forward, taking risks and we opened things up so we could take those chances, Peterson said.
The Caps found the net one last time for good measure in the 78th minute when Barkley Minton scored on a breakaway.
Though Green Hope enjoyed a standout season 18 wins, 11 shutouts, a plus-81 goal differential and a co-conference championship that offered little comfort as the team walked out off the field for the final time in 2008.
Statistically, it was the best [season] weve had in Green Hope history, Peterson said. Obviously, we had our sights set on something very high. Sometimes it just doesnt roll your way, and unfortunately, we hit one of those nights.