No. 1 Good Counsel wasn’t clicking Tuesday, and No. 4 St. John’s had five days to prepare for the Falcons, whom the Cadets had targeted after a loss to the eventual Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champions in last year’s regular season finale.
That combination made for a game more evenly matched than its 3-0 final score might suggest. But on an afternoon when both sides’ goalkeepers made spectacular saves, both teams played physical, and both sides had chances, the difference was Falcons standout center midfielder Imani Dorsey.
Dorsey, who plays with the U-18 national team and is committed to Duke, scored two goals and could have had a half-dozen more — some chances near-misses coming on deep drives, and others from a effortlessly explosive first step that separated her from defenders.
“[What makes Imani so good is] her ability to read the game: she always knows what the best pass is going to be, what the next pass after that is going to be,” said Michigan-bound Falcons goalkeeper Megan Hinz, who had multiple highlight-quality stops Tuesday. “Her speed obviously helps and her shot. She’s just all-around an amazing player, in every aspect of it.”
Dorsey also worked to set up others Tuesday in Northwest Washington, often at the expense of her own potential scoring opportunities.
“We thought Imani should be a little more selfish and really go at it, but that’s okay,” Good Counsel Coach Jim Bruno said. “That’s the way she plays. She wants to involve everybody on the team.”
Dorsey was the only Falcon to find the net until Julia Abbott did so in the game’s closing seconds, but the threat of her creativity combined with an ultra-talented lineup that includes Dorsey’s sister Nia, a forward, and Michigan-committed midfielder Courtney Parr wore down the Cadets. Initially step for step with the Falcons through the first 60 minutes, St. John’s (5-2-3, 2-1-2 WCAC) was often a step behind them in the final 20.
“That's what I get from everyone,” said Imani Dorsey of the suggestion she be more selfish. “I just try to find the best decision. I guess I could think more selfishly, but I’m always just going to do what’s best for my teammates.”
The game marks the first of the highly competitive heart of Good Counsel’s schedule, and in handling St. John’s the Falcons passed their first major test of a grueling two-week stretch that includes No. 6 Bishop Ireton, undefeated Montgomery 4A South leader Whitman, and No. 3 O’Connell.
The Falcons (9-0-4, 4-0) will find out exactly how big a difference Dorsey makes during that stretch, as she’ll be absent for three games while attending the U-18 national team camp in Florida from Oct. 13-19.