West Springfield High School, November 2, 2014 -- Set the stage this way... On a chilly night with just a minute to go before overtime, a Jim Miller-coached Springfield South County Youth Club (SYC) team is locked in a scoreless tie with a Braddock Road Youth Club (BRYC) team coached by James Sullivan in a defensive battle for the High School Girls House Soccer League (HSGHSL) tourney championship.
With 45 seconds left on the clock, amid a flurry of activity in front of the SYC goal, Emma Y. of BRYC's DANGER! sent a rocket into the SYC net for a 1-0 BRYC victory… and the tournament crown!
Until the final score, it was a very evenly matched defensive game, with most of it played in the middle of the field. Both teams fought hard for control of the ball and both defenses played very strong games. Cassidi M. and Kelly E. at center defense for DANGER! ran down every SYC ball that broke through and Alex S. in goal stopped everything that came her way. Sydney S., the SYC goalie, also played very well throughout the game, but in the last 45 seconds when the ball was not cleared well enough, DANGER! launched an unstoppable shot.
Sullivan's BRYC team has always finished with a winning season since moving up to the HSGHSL two years ago, but had never finished in the top four. This was the first time and, as the top-seeded team, DANGER! took advantage of it, becoming the first BRYC team to win the tourney championship in the last 13 seasons. And in those 13 seasons, Coach Miller's teams had won the season-ending tournament an impressive six times.
DANGER! had a 1-0 win over another BRYC team, the She Devils, coached by Doug Alcorn and Mac Squires, to advance to the finals. Rachel P. scored the winning goal on a corner kick by Marisa G., which Liz M. picked up and passed to her teammate who sent the ball home. Outstanding defenders for DANGER! included goalies Alex S. -- who blocked a PK -- and Devon S., along with Taylor A., Cassidi M., Kelly E., Sophia D., and Sarah F. plus holding midfielders Lis H. and Emily B. Top She Devils defenders included Stephanie Y. and Nicolette P., along with midfielder Megan H. and goalie Morgan K.
It is very rare for a team to take the top spot in league standings for the season AND win the tournament at the end... it was a Cinderella story for DANGER!