The small crowd at the Maryland Soccerplex gasped anytime Good Counsel’s Midge Purce touched the ball on Sunday night against Bishop O’Connell. Her speed was simply stunning. And in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game, it was the difference.
Purce scored two goals, including a pivotal strike with eight minutes remaining to lift the Falcons over Bishop O’Connell, 2-0, in the league title game Sunday in Boyds.
“It was my last game,” said Purce, who will play at Harvard next fall. “We didn’t win it last year, so were all really excited and really hungry to come out and play today.”
Entering Sunday with 25 goals, Purce put the win on ice late in the second half after O’Connell (14-2-2) had its best chance of the night. Trailing 1-0 with 10 minutes left, the Knights’ Kara Deguisto received a penalty kick after Good Counsel (16-1-2) was flagged for a handball. But Deguisto telegraphed her kick to the right, and Good Counsel goalkeeper Megan Hinz came up with a diving stop.
“Just the way she lined up to kick the ball, I was kind of able to guess she was going to my left,” said Hinz, who stopped two of four penalty kicks this fall.
Purce struck moments later. She picked up a loose ball from about 40 yards out and weaved through the O’Connell backfield into the goalie’s box, sending a low rocket to the right corner to cap a wild three-minute swing. It was the 10th multi-goal game for Purce, who also scored on a five-yard strike near the center of the goalie’s box with about 13 minutes left in the first half. Karli Cirovski sent a high cross toward the net that bounced before Purce used her quickness to get behind the defense and strike.
O’Connell had plenty of opportunities in the second half — including four quality shots on goal in the final 20 minutes — but it was clear that the Knights were deflated after Deguisto’s miss on the penalty kick. And they were certainly gassed from chasing Purce all evening.
“I was kind of upset, because no one wants a PK called against them in a championship game,” said Purce. “But when [Hinz] made that amazing save, I was just really excited and pumped. She kind of gave our team, like, just a new force. Some fuel, to push us forward.”