Damascus scrapes by Walter Johnson by Jennifer Beekman Staff writer
Maybe it's time to give the Damascus High School girls soccer team a little respect.
The Swarmin' Hornets are lumped into the Montgomery 3A/2A Division where they are tested only once or twice each year — Damascus outscored conference opponents 47-2 this fall.
The Swarmin' Hornets backed up their results Tuesday with a 2-1, overtime win at perennial power Walter Johnson.
The win sends No. 2-seed Damascus (9-3) into next week's Class 3A West Region tournament with a major confidence boost, said junior forward Katie Kirschenmann, who scored the game winner in the 86th minute.
“Our division locks us into seven games. That's why we put these 4A teams onto our schedule, to prepare us to be successful in playoffs,” Damascus coach Katie Roberts said.
Junior midfielder Julia Doody's early goal gave Damascus a 1-0, halftime lead.
It was one of few chances either team had in a lethargic 40 minutes from both sides.
“In the first half we were playing safe and you're not going to win games without attacking. We talked at halftime about how we had nothing to lose and this was just something to get us prepared for playoffs,” Roberts said.
Both teams elevated their level of play in the second half.
Fresh off two straight wins against three-time defending Class 4A West Region finalist Winston Churchill (2-1) and Richard Montgomery (4-1), Walter Johnson (7-7) retaliated early in the second half to even the score.
Junior forward Hind Saleh snuck a shot in the near post off a deflection from Tenni Idler's long-range shot.
As the half wore on, though, Damascus began to apply more consistent pressure, sending through balls over the Walter Johnson defense.
Kirschenmann nearly added a second Damascus goal midway through the second half when her 20-yard shot ricocheted off the crossbar.
Walter Johnson is incredibly fast in all areas of the field and quite strong in the middle but the Wildcats struggled to connect, Tuesday.
“I don't know what was going on [Tuesday]. We just could not find a consistent rhythm with each other,” Walter Johnson coach Liz Friedman said.
The Wildcats will need to find their rhythm before Friday when they travel to fourth-seeded Quince Orchard in the first round of the Class 4A West Region tournament.
Damascus was the aggressor late in the second half and throughout the first three minutes of overtime and finally the Walter Johnson defense broke.
After three breakaways early in overtime, Kirschenmann sent a 15-yard shot just under the crossbar inside the far post.
“I think this shows that we can compete in playoffs and that teams have to watch out for us,” Kirschenmann said.
Walter Johnson 1, Damascus 2 OT
Damascus — Julia Doody, Katie Kirschenmann
Walter Johnson — Hind Saleh