A thick black brace covers the entire left leg of Bri Harris when she plays soccer, and the contraption has become an important ally for the Broadneck sophomore since she injured her knee in January. On Wednesday night, in a key match against Arundel, the brace was deceiving because Harris was arguably the most agile player on the field. She certainly was the most rugged.
Harris was kicked in the face. She nearly did a cartwheel in mid-air after a collision. And she scored her team’s only goal in what many will remember as an instant classic in Anne Arundel girls’ soccer as Broadneck and Arundel scrapped to a 1-1 tie Wednesday night in Gambrills.
“Soccer is just a physical sport all the way around. You can expect that from everyone, especially a rivalry like Arundel and us,” Harris said, holding a an ice pack to her lip after the game.
This was October soccer at its best, and it was only fitting that it went the full 100 minutes. These rivals entered Wednesday’s Anne Arundel with impressive numbers — Arundel (10-1-1, 7-1-1) has outscored opponents 38-6 this season and recorded eight shutouts, while Broadneck (8-0-1) went 35-5 in goal differential and had six shutouts — but statistics faded quickly in a match that was often chippy between the two sides.
After Arundel tied the game on a breakaway goal from Alissa Marr early in the second half, recapturing the crowd’s attention on Senior Night, the game featured several collisions and yellow cards. Both teams had chances, including a direct kick from Arundel defender Jenna Surdick that went just wide right with three minutes left. Harris had several dangerous headers turned back down the stretch, too, including one that bounced to another Bruins player and was nearly scored before Arundel goalkeeper Tiffany Dayton-Hegedus fully extended for a save in the second overtime.
“Broadneck is usually known to be a physical team, but we weren’t going to give it back,” Dayton-Hegedus. “No matter what, we were going hard.”
For Harris, the extra time was a test of her pain threshold. In the first overtime, Harris and Surdick were both nearly de-cleated in a nasty collision 30 yards from the Arundel box. In the second, Harris was kicked in the face in a desperate scrum in the Arundel box with just a couple minutes left in the second overtime. But there were great moments, too, including the goal and the fact that her knee didn’t go out. And she was playing to please her father, Rob Harris, who is the football coach at Broadneck.
“I thought we were playing football for a few seconds,” Harris said. “But my dad always says, ‘Get back up. As long as you’re fine, get back up, get back up.’ I just got up. I wanted to make him proud. I want him to know that I’m tough.”