Harrison coach Steve Riccard admitted the lockerroom wasn’t a pleasant place for his girls soccer team on Saturday. They took a few minutes to discuss how and why they were trailing for the first time all season. Then they went out and did something about it.
The Hoyas used a big second half to beat Grayson 2-1 and cap an undefeated season to win the Class AAAAAA championship on Saturday at Kennesaw State.
“They vented their frustration because they knew they hadn’t played their best,” Riccard said.
The Hoyas (22-0) scored two second-half goals within 11 minutes of each other and won their first state title since 2011. Grayson (21-1-1) was making its first appearance in the championship game.
“We played well in the first 10 minutes and then they physically overwhelmed us and we panicked,” Riccard said. “We’ve got to possess the ball and serve the ball into the box. The second half we were a completely different team.”
Grayson scored first with 7:13 remaining in the first half. Sophomore Jennifer Westendorf captured a rebound in front of the net and kicked it past Harrison keeper Allison Leone.
Harrison tied the game early in the second half when Audrey Tanner rolled one past Grayson keeper Cadye Picklesimer with 2:31 elapsed. The Hoyas took the lead with 28:59 left when Treva Aycock took a pass from Carly Rich and left-footed it into the left side of the net.
Grayson tried valiantly to tie the game with a flurry at the end, but Leone came up with a series of impressive saves. The best was hot shot off the foot of Lizzy Sieracki in the waning seconds.
“She’s amazing,” Riccard said. “We call her ‘El Gato’ (the Cat) in practice.”