Georgetown Visitation goalie Alexis Bryant smiled confidently as she settled into the net at the start of penalty kicks in Sunday’s Independent School League AA soccer final against third-ranked National Cathedral.
The sophomore has a trusted routine for such situations. Those rituals include walking along the goal line before each shot and spending the time between kicks, crouched and quietly talking to herself.
After the teams went scoreless through regulation and two five-minute overtimes, Bryant stopped a shot in the shootout and watched two more sail high to help Georgetown Visitation to the win, 3-0 in penalty kicks, the Cubs’ second tournament title in three seasons.
“I was actually saying Hail Mary’s — praying the rosary,” Bryant said. “Well, the rosary and a little bit of R. Kelly’s ‘The World’s Greatest.’ ”
After handing No. 2 Sidwell Friends its first loss of the season in a Friday semifinal, the fourth-seeded Cubs (8-5-3) completed an unlikely run to the tournament title with an unconventional win in Alexandria.
Georgetown Visitation Coach Zeff Yusof knew his team couldn’t match firepower with National Cathedral (15-2). The Cubs lost to the Eagles, 6-1, on Oct. 25, and headed into Sunday’s game without three key players, who were at a club tournament.
Hoping to preserve the stalemate, Georgetown Visitation was content to stay on the defensive for most of the game. Bryant made nine saves in regulation as National Cathedral threatened throughout. The Eagles hit the crossbar twice in the second half.
In the shootout, Bryant kept National Cathedral off the board, while junior Claire Jenets, junior Colleen McGovern and sophomore Sheridan O’Conner made their attempts. After O’Conner converted her kick to seal the win, players piled on Bryant near the top of the 18-yard box.
“We deserved this one because we never stopped working hard,” Bryant said. “Zeff calls us ‘The Team of Destiny,’ so I just knew we could do it.”
Sidwell (13-1-1) earned a share of the league championship by finishing atop the regular season standings.
The Bulldogs (6-6-4) controlled play for most of the game but never capitalized. Junior goalie Dana Daniels made a diving save in the shootout and converted a kick of her own before Hester made the pressure kick to end it.
Under first-year Coach Tony Howard, Bullis entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed and beat three higher seeded teams to take the title.
“It was really just an uphill battle the entire time,” Hester said of the team’s championship run. “We knew we could it. We knew the regular season didn’t show how much we deserved to win. This sort of just proved that.”