A year ago, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School senior midfielder Imani Dorsey was forced to watch from the sidelines as the Falcons won their second Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title in three years after a concussion ended her season early. The Duke University recruit, who has spent time with the U.S. National 18-under team this year, certainly made up for lost time in Saturday’s 1-0 win over longtime rival Bishop O’Connell for the Falcons’ third championship in four years.
“When we won last year, it was still a great feeling, but really contributing this year and being a part of every second was really important,” Dorsey said. “It felt really good.”
Saturday marked the 10th time Good Counsel faced O’Connell with the WCAC title on the line. The win evened the head-to-head series at five wins apiece, but the Falcons’ have won the last two.
It was Dorsey’s younger sister, sophomore Nia, who scored the only goal of the game in the 25th minute. The younger Dorsey finished a perfectly placed direct kick from senior defender Karli Cirovski — Imani said it was nice to see her sister score the game-winning goal. The two combined for some incredible runs toward the frame Saturday. But the elder Dorsey was the differentiating factor in Good Counsel’s win, O’Connell coach Alberto Starace said.
Dorsey is one of those special talents that can change the complexion of a game and that’s what she did Saturday, whether it was making an incredible stop on a fast break in the waning minutes of regulation or kick starting dangerous offensive runs. “You take Imani out of the equation,..,” Starace said. “We had opportunities. Good players know what it takes to win.”
While Dorsey was vital to everything Good Counsel did this fall, Saturday’s win was in no way a one-woman show. That wasn’t the Falcons’ style this fall. Instead they were propelled by balanced scoring; everyone on the field played an important role in Saturday’s win, coach Jim Bruno said. And a weak spot is hard to come by. Impossible, really.
Good Counsel’s traditionally stingy defense again made it difficult for O’Connell to produce too many truly dangerous scoring chances — Cirovski denied nearly every O’Connell attempt to go long with her ability in the air — but when the Knights did break through, senior goalie and University of Michigan recruit Megan “Stu” Hinz was there to make the stop.
Bruno said Good Counsel’s success is rooted in the backline’s ability to stifle even the best opposing offenses. Having Imani Dorsey darting all over the field just takes the team to a different level.
“It’s a real simple thing with Imani, she’s just not going to let you lose,” Bruno said. “She doesn’t have to be on the scoreboard to make an impact, she’s just everywhere.”
Our Lady of Good Counsel 1, O’Connell 0
Good Counsel (13-1-6) 1 0 — 1
O’Connell (13-3-1) 0 0 — 0
Good Counsel — Nia Dorsey
Good Counsel — Karli Cirovski