O'Connell senior midfielder Mick Imgram penned a fitting final chapter to her high school career last night in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls' soccer final at Wakefield High School in Arlington.
Imgram, who will play for the University of Tennessee next year on a full scholarship, had one assist and the game-winning goal in the top-ranked Knights' 3-1 victory over eighth-ranked Good Counsel.
"She's been doing that all season," O'Connell Coach Alberto Starace said.
With its victory, O'Connell (20-0) capped a perfect season and claimed the title in what is arguably the area's toughest soccer league for the third straight year. The WCAC boys' soccer champion also remained the same, as second-ranked DeMatha defeated No. 8 Gonzaga, 2-1, to defend its crown in last night's boys' final.
In the girls' game, O'Connell struck first in the 24th minute, when Imgram served a pass from the left flank to the foot of sophomore striker Liz Carroll, who was sprinting through the middle of the penalty area. Carroll one-timed the perfectly placed pass to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.
In the 62nd minute, however, Good Counsel junior forward Vicki Anagnostopoulos was fouled in the O'Connell penalty area, and she converted the resulting penalty kick.
The equalizer seemed to give the Falcons (16-4-2) momentum, but Imgram made sure it was short lived. In the 74th minute, O'Connell was awarded an indirect kick 24 yards from the Good Counsel goal in the middle of the field. Senior midfielder Kerry Philbin nudged the ball, and Imgram blasted it on the ground, just left of the wall of Good Counsel players charging at her, and just inside the left post.
"They didn't set their wall to what I thought would be a good wall," said Imgram, who finished the season with 32 goals (a school single-season record) and 24 assists. "They pretty much shifted too far to my right and left open the left side."
O'Connell got an insurance goal five minutes later, when senior midfielder L.B. Puglisi converted a penalty kick.
In the boys' final, the Stags (14-0-4) got two goals in the first half and then relied on their defense, led by senior goalkeeper Andrew Quinn (seven saves) to defeat Gonzaga (12-5-5) in the WCAC final for the second year in a row.
Junior Kyle Albrecht scored first for DeMatha midway through the first half with a solo effort set up by his dribbling, and junior Aubrey Grant scored the game-winner moments before halftime.
Gonzaga junior Matt Tapajcik cut DeMatha's lead in half midway through the second half, but the Eagles could not equalize. Quinn had much to do with that, making several lunging saves and diving to swipe the ball away from the feet of a Gonzaga forward late in the game. He made perhaps his best stop in the game's opening moments, however, when a DeMatha corner kick led to a Gonzaga breakaway and a one-on-one.
"I guess we got caught up too far, and they broke on us really quick," Quinn said. "For a quick second I wanted to run out, but I decided to hold my ground. I just tried to make myself big and I stopped it."
Sherwood Boys Prevail
Michael Rollings scored the game-winning goal in the second minute of the second overtime yesterday to give the 10th-ranked Sherwood boys' soccer team a 1-0 victory over Wootton in a Maryland 4A West Region semifinal at Whitman. Sherwood will play Churchill, a 2-1 winner over Whitman, in the region final at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Whitman.