Monday, April 21, 2008

Woodbridge Girls' Soccer

An Unlikely Save Delivers Overtime -- and the Win
Senior Forward Smith Comes Out Strong for Vikings:
No. 9 Woodbridge 1, Forest Park 0

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, April 20, 2008; PW09

Woodbridge senior goalkeeper Heather Harvey rolled over and snapped her head back to see the result of her poorly timed slide tackle near the edge of the penalty box.

She watched with great concern from her spot on the grass, expecting that Forest Park senior forward Lauren Agyekum's 10-yard shot in the 60th minute -- the Bruins' first shot on goal -- would be the winner in Friday's meeting.

Instead, Harvey saw teammate Kathleen Smith step in front of the empty net, where she cleared Agyekum's offering.

The unorthodox save forced overtime, where Smith again shined, this time on offense, assisting on the goal that gave ninth-ranked Woodbridge a 1-0 home victory.

"I just stayed in front of the goal and prayed," said Smith, who booted away Agyekum's low-rolling shot.

Woodbridge (7-1, 3-0 AAA Cardinal District), last season's district and Northwest Region champion, won its sixth straight and earned its third shutout of the season.

Forest Park fell to 5-2-1, 1-1-1.

"She's my hero for saving that ball," said Harvey, who finished with five saves. "We have a really good connection because we've been playing together for so long, so I can always count on her to get my back."

Smith's defensive play in regulation made way for her game-winning assist in overtime: a 35-yard right-footed free kick that deflected off of junior Rihana Williams's head before junior forward Shondel Archer toed the ball to the front right corner of the net in the 88th minute.

"The ball came from behind me, and it was in the air, and I just started poking because I knew we needed the goal," said Archer, who awkwardly tipped the ball home with her right foot.

Woodbridge used a series of passing drills between midfielders Williams, Katie Douez, Casey Burdette and Ashley Evans to control the pace and stall Forest Park's high-scoring trio of Alex Maddox (six goals this season), Stephanie Damren (four goals) and Delaney Tomczak (four goals).

The pace, however, also disrupted Woodbridge's offensive flow as the Vikings failed to create quality chances for their forwards, earning four shots on goal and three corner tries.

"I just don't think we played sharp tonight," Woodbridge Coach Scott Kerns said. "We were giving it up with poor passing and poor touches."

The Vikings' only quality chance of the first half -- Brianna Nottingham's give-and-go finish from Kellsey Costello-Mays -- was waved off in the 34th minute, when Nottingham was ruled offside.

"We weren't connecting, and our first touch was off, but we fought," Smith said.

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