FRONT ROYAL — Skyline’s girls soccer team put together a season to remember, but it came to a heartbreaking halt on Monday night.
The second-seeded Hawks saw a two-goal lead evaporate in the second half and fell to seventh-seeded Maggie Walker, 3-2 in double overtime, in the Region 3B quarterfinals.
“I thought it was a really good game — both sides start to finish,” Skyline coach Juan Garcia said. “Monday games are always tough, just because we don’t get a practice in before hand. But I thought we started off strong. We had plenty of chances, created chances in both overtimes. Just came down to finishing.”
Maggie Walker’s Alice Bowman scored the game-winning goal with 4:11 left in the second of the two five-minute sudden death overtimes.
Skyline senior goalkeeper Laura Brown came out to make a play on a shot by Maggie Walker’s Virginia Warren, but couldn’t quite control the ball and it bounced around and went to Bowman who tapped it and it trickled into the empty net.
“Nine times out of 10 we get that ball inside the 18, we end up clearing it,” Garcia said. “But hats off to them. They have a good squad.”
The Hawks took a 2-0 lead with two goals in the span of two minutes in the first half.
Skyline junior Annie O’Fallon scored on a breakaway with about 25 minutes left in the first half. She made a move on Maggie Walker goalkeeper Keely Thomas and put it passed her.
Two minutes later, O’Fallon made a pass to Skyline senior Teaghan Ewing, who put a shot over Thomas’s hands from about 16 yards out for a 2-0 advantage.
The Hawks (8-2) had plenty of other scoring opportunities throughout the first half and the game, but Thomas came up with some strong saves.
“We had a huge game by our keeper Keely (Thomas),” Maggie Walker coach Jim Thomas said. “She just came up with some huge saves, kept us in the game. And then it was just the confidence to try to put the ball in the back of the net finally.”
Jim Thomas said it took some time for his squad to adjust to Skyline’s field, which he said had longer grass than what they were used to and kept them from playing their faster style of play. He said they adjusted to it better in the second half.
With about 22 minutes left in regulation, Maggie Walker's Taylor Lamb sent a shot past Brown into the left corner of the goal from about 19 yards out to cut the lead to 2-1.
“I knew if we could get a little bit of momentum — that one goal — it was going to give us enough to get the ball rolling,” Thomas said. “And it ended up being enough.”
Maggie Walker's Caraline Kennedy tied the game with about three minutes left on a shot from about 22 yards out that just went over Brown’s hands into the net.
Skyline had more opportunities in the first overtime session, but couldn’t score.
O’Fallon just missed scoring by inches, with a shot that just barely went over the top of the net with about three minutes left in the first overtime session.
“It’s just tough, especially when you put so much into it,” Garcia said. “That’s why it ends up hurting so much, because of the amount of time and effort that they put into this program over the years. It’s always tough when it ends like that. ...I’m not unhappy with the performance at all. I thought we played well enough to win, but that’s just how this game goes sometimes.”
The Hawks accomplished a lot this season, including their first-ever district title. First-year coach Garcia said he is very proud of what they did this season.
“One of the reasons that I was told that I was coming into this program was to help get them to that next level — and I think we definitely did that,” Garcia said. “And we definitely laid the seeds for the bright future ahead in terms of putting things in place, processes. A culture that we kind of became a lot more competitive, which is what we really wanted. So I think we checked off all the boxes. At the end of the day there’s only one team that goes home happy.”
Maggie Walker, which won the Class 2 state title two years ago, will play at sixth-seeded Independence on Wednesday in the Region 3B semifinals.
The Hawks will lose 10 seniors to graduation and Garcia said he was pleased with how they performed and led the team this season.
“I’m super proud of them,” Garcia said. “I know coming in, the thing I told them the most was who they became as a result of this journey they were taking this season is what I count for a success or not. They all bought in. They brought everyone along with them. It was nice to see them grow, especially as females in this day and age, to be more demanding of each other and get out of it what they want. So in terms of checking boxes that definitely happened this season.”