Our Lady of Good Counsel High School goalkeeper Megan Hinz stood on the goal line with thoughts racing through her mind in the 70th minute of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference girls soccer championship match as Bishop O’Connell’s Kara DeGuisto stood over the ball.
With a 1-0 lead and O’Connell applying heavy pressure, DeGuisto struck the ball. Hinz dove to her left and denied DeGuisto’s penalty kick attempt.
As if the momentum of stopping a penalty kick wasn’t enough, the ensuing counterattack sprung Falcons forward Midge Purce for her second goal of the match and the celebration was underway.
That dramatic sequence clinched an emphatic 2-0 victory for Good Counsel on a chilly Sunday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds and secured the school’s eighth WCAC title.
“It just felt great because my teammates save me all the time, so to be able to get in there and do something for them is just a great feeling,” Hinz said.
Hinz withstood heavy pressure for a 15 minute period during the second half as O’Connell came close on a number of scoring chances.
“Megan Hinz is definitely the best goalkeeper I’ve ever had,” Good Counsel coach Jim Bruno said. “She read the [penalty kick] pretty well.”
Purce, the co-WCAC Player of the Year, scored her first goal in the 27th minute and capped it with another tally in the 71st with a display of her blistering speed and dribbling ability through the defense.
The goals were the 100th and 101st of Purce’s high school tenure.
“It’s indescribable. When it means so much to you ... I just think that for all the players on this team, winning and playing soccer is something they’re truly passionate about,” Purce said.
Prior to the penalty kick, O’Connell’s co-WCAC Player of the Year, Morgan Reuther, sent a free kick from just outside the box into the area that deflected off Good Counsel’s wall. The referee called a handball in the box, though the ball appeared to deflect off a defender’s face.
“Me on the sideline, I’m not much of an emotional guy, but my heart almost stopped. That’s for sure,” Bruno said of the call. “They were really pressing. That’s what they can do well.”
Minutes before taking the penalty, DeGuisto headed a ball off the post that would have leveled the match had it been a few inches to the right.
Good Counsel opened the scoring on a beautiful service from Karli Cirovski to Purce. Cirovski lofted a ball from the far sideline toward the area, where Purce chipped it into the far corner and by O’Connell goalkeeper Ashley Cox.
As the players walked off the field, one of Hinz’s teammates turned to her, still brimming with energy, and asked, “Don’t you feel like we need to go rage?”
At which point Hinz, being called over by a large contingent gathered to take pictures, replied: “Heck no. I’m going home and going to bed.”
WCAC Girls Soccer Championship
Good Counsel 2, Bishop O’Connell 0
Bishop O’Connell (14-2-2) 0 0 — 0
Good Counsel (16-1-2) 1 1 — 2
Good Counsel — Midge Purce 2 (27’, 71’)
Good Counsel — Karli Cirovski (27’)