In the Wildcats' senior night and last home game of the season, they took down top-ranked and previously undefeated Poolesville 2-0.
“It's amazing,” said Walter Johnson senior Mackenzie Early, who scored the game's opening goal off an Ulane Albrecht cross and assisted the second to sophomore Megan Root. “These past three games we just hung together as a team and I'm just so proud of us.”
Early scored the deciding goal against Bethesda-Chevy Chase, a team Walter Johnson hadn't beaten since 1995, six days ago and was a major catalyst Wednesday night against Poolesville.
The first 15 minutes of the game wasn't much more than a tug-of-war for possession between the 30-yard-lines. Poolesville got a brief scoring chance early on with a Jocelyn Bodmer cross but it went untouched and the Falcons would muster just one shot on goal for the remainder of the half.
The Wildcats got things moving when Albrecht snatched the ball off a Poolesville defender's stick deep in Falcon territory and fired a bounding cross into the middle where Early was waiting. The senior one-timed it off a bounce and blasted it past Poolesville keeper Madison Lamanna.
“She had a great game,” Walter Johnson coach Erika Murray said. “I would say that's her best game of the season…she did great, she was on fire.”
Over the next four minutes the Falcons were on their heels and scrambling just to keep the deficit at one. Walter Johnson fought for three penalty corners and launched in barrage after barrage of shots but Early's would be the only one to sneak past Lamanna, who had allowed just four goals in nine games prior to Wednesday's night's contest.
The Falcons picked up a pair of penalty corners in the remaining seven minutes but the offense that had outscored opponents 59-4 this season failed to muster a shot on goal on either of them.
But after the break that offense began to resemble itself again. In the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Falcons forced four corners and fired as many shots but none would find the cage. Allie Greene, one of the county's most prolific scorers, finally put a shot on goal nearly 42 minutes into the game but it sailed wide left, which would signal the end of Poolesville's assault and the beginning of Walter Johnson's counter.
The Wildcats didn't log a shot on goal until 14 minutes into the second period, but they made the most of it. Early corralled a pass off a penalty corner and returned it to Root, who was waiting by the left post. Root somehow curled it past Lamanna to extend Walter Johnson's lead to 2-0.
Walter Johnson star midfielder Anna Rowthorn-Apel pounded one in with 9 minutes, 37 seconds left but it was waved off after the umpires declared she had shot from outside of the shooting circle. That proved to be the last major move either team would make for the remainder of the game.
This was the first time Poolesville has been shutout since Oct. 18, 2011 in a 1-0 loss to B-CC. The Wildcats have now won four of their past five games by two or less goals.
“We've had some competition but not the level we played today,” Poolesville coach Regina Grubb said. “And it was a good thing to see how we kind of went with it throughout the game…Win or lose, of course I'm always looking to win, I mean, that's just what I want to do, but I want them to peak and get ready to go into our 2A playoffs that's the biggest thing for me.”
Walter Johnson 2, Poolesville 0
Poolesville (9-1) 0 0—0
Walter Johnson (9-1) 1 1—2
Walter Johnson—Mackenzie Early, Megan Root
Walter Johnson—Ulane Albrecht, Mackenzie Early