For more than a year now, Becca Callison has woken up every morning to the same sight — a teary-eyed teenager in an emotional crumble following a devastating defeat in the state final. The picture, which rests on Callison’s nightstand and serves as her phone’s screensaver is a not-so-subtle reminder of her vow to never let a season end as 2013 did for the Battlefield girls’ soccer team.
If not for the photo, perhaps Callison may have stopped pushing under the intense sun in the Virginia 6A final against Centreville, when the Bobcats were held without a goal through regulation and four overtimes for the first time all season. Instead, she forced herself to take an extra moment to map out her plan when the teams entered the sudden death portion of a six-round shootout.
The outcome — Callison’s decisive penalty kick — both replayed and rewrote history. Callison again emerged in tears, this time among a swarm of teammates celebrating Battlefield’s first girls’ soccer state title after a 0-0 (4-3) victory at Robinson in Fairfax.
“These tears are different,” Callison exclaimed with a laugh. “I’m happy now.”
Relief also spread across the faces of her Bobcats teammates after Centreville pushed yet another opponent to the brink during its improbable playoff run.
Through 110 minutes of play, Battlefield racked up 27 shots on goal, but the Wildcats defense proved stingy, erasing each opportunity with a clear or a strong recovery by goalkeeper Noelle Brown (14 saves).
“They did an excellent job of defending and we just couldn’t break through,” Bobcats Coach Kevin Hilton said. “Fortunately, our back line also played exceptional to keep them off the scoreboard.”
Centreville nearly took the lead after getting a point-blank look at the net on the right side, but Halle Lahammer snatched the shot out of the air for one of her six saves.
Lahammer also proved resilient in the shootout. After two rounds, the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on a Jenna Green conversion. But in the fourth round, Lahammer denied Centreville’s shot to position the Bobcats (21-0) for victory.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats’ shooters connected on their final four penalty kicks, with Callison scoring the last two — one in the lower left pocket of the net and the second and final shot to the right side.
Centreville (9-10) had one last chance to extend the shootout, but its final attempt struck the left post, sending the Bobcats running with joy to celebrate their perfect season.
“This is just unbelievable,” Bobcats senior Karina Lacey said. “After three years of coming up just short and then working so hard for this one before finally reaching our goal, it makes it that much sweeter.”