With about 10 minutes to go in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game and No. 1 Good Counsel defending a one-goal lead againstNo. 2 O’Connell, the Knights finally looked poised to net an equalizer with a breakaway opportunity.
Then Falcons senior midfielder Imani Dorsey appeared, closed the gap, took the ball and dribbled it safely away.
“All I was thinking is there is no way this girl is going to score right now,” Dorsey said. “That was what was going through my mind.”
Such was the attitude of the entire Falcons team in its 1-0 win Saturday night at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds. In what was the last game for an eight-member senior class that never lost back-to-back games, Good Counsel played relentless defense to win its second straight championship and third in four years — all won over O’Connell.
“[The defense] was incredible. In the middle of the season, we didn’t really take that pride in not getting goals scored on us,” Dorsey said. “Today, especially in those last three minutes, we were just like ‘no’, it’s not happening.”
Keeping the Knights off the board wasn’t easy. Senior goalkeeper Megan Hinz, who couldn’t bark out directions at her usual high-decibel level due to strep throat, protected the Falcons’ 1-0 lead — a margin earned midway through the first half when sophomore Nia Dorsey headed home a perfectly placed free kick from senior Karli Cirovski.
Cirovski anchored the Falcons’ back line, charging around the field to stop chances before they could start and chasing down countless 50-50 balls.
“It’s my senior year. It’s my last time wearing a Good Counsel jersey. I just wanted to make sure I gave it my all,” Cirovski said. “Having lost two years ago, we wanted to come out and make sure we had at least three of the four [titles]. Leave with a bang.”
The Falcons’ defense didn’t yield a goal in any of three playoff games, but the shutout of O’Connell was particularly impressive after an Oct. 24 regular-season matchup that saw the Knights score two goals in the game’s opening minutes.
“It’s just incredible. We lost a couple key defenders, but the way people have stepped up all over the place,” Cirovski said. “We have a phenomenal front line with Imani and Nia, but on the back line, we’re just as strong, and we showed that today.”