Two penalty kicks and an own goal.
That's how the Winston Churchill High School girls soccer team scored its goals during Wednesday's 3-2 victory at Montgomery 4A South Division rival Walt Whitman.
“That was the weirdest three goals I've ever seen,” Churchill coach Haroot Hakopian said. “But I told the girls going in to work as hard as they could to keep the pressure on and there's no question that we benefitted from that.”
It was Churchill's (5-1-1 overall record, 1-0 4A South) second straight win over Whitman (5-2, 0-1). The Vikings won last year's regular season match before the Bulldogs prevailed in the postseason.
Churchill took a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute when Whitman senior defender Lottie Nalls' attempt to clear a ball ended up in the back of the net.
It set the tone for the evening's contest.
Whitman senior forward Dani Okon evened the game at 1-1 just before halftime.
Churchill claimed its second lead in the 53rd minute when senior midfielder Zoe Forster scored the first of her two goals on a penalty kick awarded for an inadvertent handball in the box.
Whitman responded within five minutes with Anna Gurney's 12-yard shot off a deflection.
Forster then scored the deciding goal on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.
“[Forster] does not let the moment get to her. That's why she always takes our penalty kicks. She's very calm, cool and collected. She doesn't get rattled under pressure,” Hakopian said.
Though Whitman was unable to come up with an answer to Churchill's 3-2 lead, the Vikings's resilience was on display.
Every time something went awry, the Vikings responded.
Whitman, traditionally a defensive-minded team, is very technical and fast in the midfield and final third. The Vikings kept Churchill's back line under a lot of pressure. Whitman outshot Churchill 7-3 in the second half.
Wednesday's result was disappointing, Whitman coach Greg Herbert said, but the most important part of the season is yet to come.
“I think we played a great game. Soccer is very cruel. We executed our game plan. Two handballs and an own goal, you can't plan for that kind of thing,” Herbert said.
Walt Whitman 2, Winston Churchill 3
Churchill (5-1-1) 1 2 — 3
Whitman (5-2) 1 1 — 2
Churchill — Zoe Forster (2).
Whitman — Anna Gurney, Dani Okon.
Churchill — Juliana Comer.
Whitman — Bahar Ulusan.