Hegewisch headed home the winner 3 minutes, 52 seconds into the second overtime as the Saints rebounded from a slow start to knock off host and rival Severn in girls soccer, 2-1, on Tuesday.
Concussions are a prevalent issue in girls soccer, and Hegewisch has suffered enough that she is not supposed to head the ball at all. However, when Chloe Byrne sent a long ball into the box that bounced over a Severn defender’s head, heading the ball was the best option to end the contest.
“She is not allowed to head the ball, and she headed it,” St. Mary’s coach Sarah Molina said. “Her dad is going to freak out.”
The game’s conclusion looked nothing like its beginning, as the Admirals (6-7-1) controlled the early play. Michelle Money fired a hard shot right at St. Mary’s goalkeeper Shelby Sullivan 90 seconds in, and Severn took the lead in the eighth minute on a beautiful sequence.
After holding possession and working the ball down the left sideline via multiple passes, Taylor Critcher sent a ball in to Eileen Doherty, who took a step with the ball before finishing low and to the left for her sixth goal of the season.
“I thought the team worked really hard and played until the end,” Severn coach Albert Oni said.
On the other bench, Molina was not happy with her team’s start.
“Whenever they play Severn, they get scared. Every time I come to a meeting it is ‘beat Severn! Beat Severn,’” Molina said. “It is just drilled in their heads that they need to beat Severn for their school, so they become frantic and the mistakes start flowing. The first 15 was very much a time for them to figure their stuff out.”
Molina was especially upset with her team moving away from its game and focusing on Severn as individuals, including leading scorer Michelle Money, along with Doherty and Critcher.
“Our game is very much we possess the ball and pass it around,” Molina said. “It looks nice and it works for us. At the beginning it was very much ‘where is Michelle Money and how can I get on her? Where is Eileen and what am I going to do with her? Where is Taylor, I cannot let her shoot the ball.’ Once we possessed the ball, it made it harder for them. They had to run and they had to start moving more and they got tired faster.”
The Saints controlled more and more possession as the first half progressed, and were rewarded with their efforts when Elizabeth Gilman finished off a corner kick from Byrne, who assisted on both St. Mary’s goals, in the 39th minute.
“It was a good game. They are a good team. Sarah is a good coach,” Oni said. “They have good players and they just battled their way back into the game.”
Both teams had chances in the second half to get the winner. Sullivan, who had three saves, stopped Money early in the half, and made her biggest save with nine minutes left in regulation when she tipped an attempt by Mia Sokoloff to the upper right corner away for a corner kick. Byrne and Lindsey Grady both had multiple attempts for the Saints that went high or wide or both.
Inde Lauer made six saves for Severn. The game went into overtime, and the first 10 minutes were uneventful, and a draw appeared imminent.
“I said, ‘Do you want to beat Severn?’ They said, ‘Yes!’ I said, “Then do it!’ The girls on the field knew their job and what they had to do to win,” Molina said. “That was the only way we were going to beat them. If we played the way we did the first 15 minutes, Severn would have had the game.”
Hegewisch’s winner gives St. Mary’s (6-5-1) a little breathing room over its rivals in the IAAM B Conference. The Saints are now 5-2-1 in league play, and Severn sits at 4-4.
“We are near tournament time and these games are going to seed us higher or lower,” Molina said.
St. Mary’s 2, Severn 1 (2OT)
Goals: SM — Gilman, Hegewisch; SE — Doherty.
Assists: SM — Byrne 2; SE — Critcher.
Saves: SM — Sullivan 4; SE — Lauer 6 .