Dolph Hegewisch wanted to take the penalty kick, and even before he lined up, he knew exactly where he wanted to put it.
That’s because the DeMatha senior always goes left. It works for him in practice, it worked for him twice during the season and it worked for him again in the closing minutes of Saturday’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference boys’ final against Gonzaga.
“It’s my secret. I always go left, always go left. It’s not a secret anymore,” said Hegeswich, whose penalty kick was the game-winner in the Stags’ 2-1 victory at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds.
No. 8 Gonzaga (12-5-3, 9-2-1 WCAC) struck first on a goal by Fawzi Beidas in the first half. No. 1 DeMatha (14-2-1, 11-1 ) responded minutes later as Justin Gielen scored off a rebound to tie the game heading into halftime.
The teams looked like they were headed for overtime until the 74th minute, when Paul Frendach drew a foul in the box, setting up the go-ahead goal. After converting the penalty, Hegewisch and his teammates leaped toward the DeMatha fan section, and they did so again a few minutes later as they celebrated their third consecutive WCAC title.
“I just really wanted to put it on my back for the team,” Hegeswich said. “This team means everything to me my senior year. These guys did it all year. It means the world for me to score that [penalty kick] and win the championship.”
After the Good Counsel girls’ 2-0 victory over Bishop Ireton — and the dogpile that followed — it was time for pictures. The championship celebration has turned into an annual tradition, which is why the seniors held up four fingers as they posed in front of the cameras. But as Jameese Joseph reminded her teammates, “It’s one for us!”
Joseph is one of eight freshmen on No. 2 Good Counsel, which secured its fourth straight Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title. Several of them stepped up, with Chloe Chapman netting both goals and goalie Heather Hinz recording the shutout.
“This has definitely been the toughest in terms of working together. It’s a very young class, young group,” said Nia Dorsey, the WCAC player of the year. “Just all the hard work finally pays off. The other years we definitely worked just as hard, but this year is extremely special.”
Good Counsel (13-1-4, 9-1-1 WCAC) and Bishop Ireton (10-5-4, 6-3-2) were scoreless after the first half, though both teams had chances. A diving save from Hinz prevented a Cardinals goal, while a free kick from Dorsey bounced off the crossbar.Chapman got Good Counsel on the board in the 46th minute and struck again late in the half the Falcons cruised to their 11th WCAC title.
“It’s just surreal,” Dorsey said. “It’s been 10 minutes now and I still can’t believe it’s real.”