(Nov. 5, 2021) The Worcester Prep girls’ soccer team outscored the Salisbury Christian Jaguars, 3-1, at MAYS Athletic Complex in Pittsville last Thursday, to win the Eastern Shore Independent Athletic Conference championship.
“It was a battle,” said Prep Coach Carol Hartnett.
The game was scoreless at the end of the first half.
“We dominated possession the first half, we just couldn’t get anything in,” Hartnett said. “At halftime, we said we were playing disorganized. We just didn’t find our shape and we had to settle in.”
Hartnett challenged the Lady Mallards to play like they know how, and to make a statement because for some of the girls, the second half would be the final 40 minutes of their high school soccer career.
Senior Myranda Beebe netted a shot 10 minutes into the second half. Senior Natalie Brushmiller made it 2-0 about 10 minutes later.
Salisbury cut the lead to one goal, but Beebe extended the advantage with about six minutes left in the game.
“She just sealed it,” Hartnett said. “Everyone could take a breath in, because it was a war.”
Hartnett said Worcester’s back four – seniors Ava Nally and Lily Baeurle, and sophomores Claire Windrow and Isabella Huber – dictated the pace of the second half.
“A lot of hard work made things happen,” Hartnett said. “They settled the ball, they distributed the ball well [and] they communicate well.”
Freshman goalie Abigail Ament recorded four saves.
“She’s been playing great,” Hartnett said.
The final cheer for the senior Mallards was “protect the pond,” as they were all a bit emotional to wrap up their last soccer season.
“The seniors were freshmen the last time they won both the conference and tournament,” Hartnett said. “After the game we told [all] the girls to take a moment, stop and savor this.”
Players who received All-ESIAC accolades were announced after the game. Prep players who earned awards were: Nally, Beebe, Brushmiller, Baeurle, senior captain Morgan White and Windrow (honorable mention).
Hartnett presented team awards to White (MVP), Baeurle (Coaches Award) and senior Hannah Brasure (Most Improved).
The championship game, Hartnett added, was a reflection of the season.
“Upbeat attitudes, the girls were cheering for each other, senior leadership, being helpful to each other,” Hartnett said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime season, because all the stars lined up. I told them this will be a team I talk about for years to come, and how proud I am of them.”
The Mallards finished the season with a 10-1 record. They had seven shutouts.
“They’re a great group of girls. I had a great time coaching them,” Hartnett said. “Thirty-one girls and it was so copacetic. They enjoyed each other’s company and they worked as a unit.”
The team will graduate 14 players, but many underclassmen contributed this season. There were also nine freshmen on the team who gained valuable varsity experience.
“Everyone played their role. There were no superstars. Everyone contributed,” Hartnett said. “Everything fell into place because of hard work.”
Between the talent returning and solid incoming freshmen, the team should be strong again next season.