Experience can be a key part of any playoff run, and the third-seeded Hannan girls soccer team can attest to that.
The Hawks used goals from three senior captains to earn a physical 3-1 Division IV quarterfinals win over No. 6 Country Day on Saturday afternoon at Hannan.
“We knew it was going to be a real physical game coming into it, and we prepared for that,” said Hannan senior Theresa Goldkamp, who scored on a 25-yard blast in the 77th minute. “It paid off. We knew it was going to be fight to the last second, so that last goal was definitely what we need to clinch the victory.”
The Hawks (20-4-2) will travel to play either No. 2 Pope John Paul II or No. 7 Ascension Episcopal in the semifinals next week. It’s Hannan’s first semifinals appearance in program history.
While Goldkamp clinched the victory, it was senior Hannah Duplechain’s goal in the 35th minute that gave the Hawks the lead. Country Day failed to clear a ball that Estefania Harvey gathered, made a run and crossed to Duplechain, who directed it into the net for a 1-0 halftime lead.
“I think finishing the first goal really gave us a lot of confidence and momentum,” Duplechain said. “It gave us a so much confidence going into halftime. It feels great to be able to play a great team like Country Day and get a victory. We knew it would be a fight to the last second to overcome them.”
In the 54th minute, Hannan senior Elizabeth Frank dribbled into the box and beat the keeper low for a 2-0 lead.
“It was pretty amazing,” Frank said. “We knew that 1-0 wasn’t enough, so we knew we needed to get another one. We just had to keep pushing. It was a total team effort. Everyone played great.”
The Cajuns, who threatened early and often in the second half, finally answered off a corner in the 63rd minute as Hannan freshman keeper Mikayla Boyer made the initial save, but couldn’t hold onto the rebound. After a scrum around the ball, Country Day senior Megan Rittenberg scored to cut the lead to 2-1.
Country Day (10-9-4) continued to push hard for the equalizer, but each time the Cajuns shot went wide or Boyer, who finished with double-digit saves, came up with a stop.
Country Day coach Glenn Benjamin said his team simply needed to be more clinical in front of the net.
“We’ve just got to finish,” Benjamin said. “That’s the biggest thing. We created the opportunities, but if you can’t score, you can’t win. This is the playoffs, so we’ve got to score goals. I’m proud of my girls, but this was just one of those games today. It’s just how the ball rolls.”