Sidwell Friends girls’ soccer Coach Ryan Alexander received a concerning email Saturday night, about 15 hours before the Independent School League AA championship game.
Midfielder Gemma Maltby was in a hospital after spraining her right arm in a club game. Maltby had already broken her left arm in a soccer incident earlier this year.
Maltby left the hospital around 9 p.m. Saturday and played in her club team’s game at 8 a.m. Sunday. Then, the freshman lifted Sidwell Friends to a championship.
The Quakers trailed Georgetown Visitation by a goal with about two minutes remaining when Maltby tied the game with a strike into the lower right corner. She then assisted on midfielder Delaney Edwards’s goal in overtime in No. 10 Sidwell Friends’ 2-1 victory.
“Of all people,” Alexander said, “she had the right to be tired at the end.”
Sidwell Friends (15-1-1) lost seven key contributors from last season’s team that went 11-6. But the Quakers’ freshman class didn’t lose a game in middle school, so Alexander was optimistic his squad would be talented.
The Quakers’ lone loss this season came against Georgetown Visitation (9-3-3) on Oct. 17. Alexander said the Cubs are physical and limit Sidwell’s leading scorer, Kiki Rice, from gaining opportunities.
Georgetown Visitation used that strategy to take the lead Sunday with about 13 minutes remaining, as images of the Cubs storming the field in victory filled Maltby’s mind. Maltby, though, raised her casts into the air and accepted hugs after she created space in the middle of the box and scored.
In the first overtime period, Maltby drew Georgetown Visitation’s goalkeeper to the left side of the box and attempted a shot. It missed, but Edmonds struck the rebound into the back of the net. When the final whistle blew, Sidwell Friends players and their fans stormed the Holton-Arms field before players posed for pictures with the ISL AA title banner.
This is the first time since Alexander took over the program in 2012 that Sidwell Friends has won the ISL AA regular season and tournament. The Quakers will aim for their first District of Columbia State Athletic Association postseason title after falling to St. John’s in overtime in last year’s championship game.
“We’d love to do something that our school’s never accomplished,” Alexander said.
Flint Hill has won seven consecutive ISL AA championships in volleyball, but beating Episcopal in three sets felt just as good as the others for Coach Carrol DeNure.
“We lost several players from last year,” DeNure said. “To be in the position we’re in now, it’s a surprise. We’ve been very impressed with our record to this point.”
No. 2 Flint Hill (27-1) will play WCAC champion Paul VI on Monday before beginning the Virginia playoffs Tuesday.
Georgetown Visitation claimed the ISL AA field hockey crown with a 1-0 victory over National Cathedral. “Winning today puts a little cherry on top,” first-year Cubs Coach Shamsiya Shervani said, “because they worked really, really hard throughout the whole season.”