The No.5 seed Oakton girls’ varsity soccer team (10-3-2) made the bus ride over to Westfield (9-4-2) to face the Bulldogs for the Concorde District Championship on Friday afternoon. After a defensive battle, Caroline Coyer struck gold, hammering a 30-yard strike into the upper right 90 with eight seconds left in the first half to give the Cougars the 1-0 lead to eventually win the district title for the first time in school history.
“I just dribbled down the field and they were backing off of me,” Coyer said. “My teammate had made a run and I thought maybe I could get it to her but I saw the goalie out of position so I just went for it. ... I like to be there for my team, kind of like a mentor. This is our first title ever and I am so excited.”
The Cougars were caught off guard in the first 10 t0 15 minutes as Westfield hit the ground running from the opening whistle. But defensive leader Katherine Coyer stuffed every Bulldog who dared to penetrate Oakton’s back row. Smita Sharma and Adelle Clinton also cleared the ball with force to keep their goalkeeper Alex Weaver protected throughout the game.
“We have one of the strongest defenses in the district, if not the region. Communication plays a big role on our defense and something we’ve been working on,” Katherine Coyer said. “We pulled it all together today, came out and proved everybody wrong because nobody thought we were going to win the district.”
The Cougars would steal momentum for the majority the remaining 20 minutes of the first half and found open space down low to fire off a few shots before the half ended. However, Westfield found its attack once more and tested Weaver’s ability in the net but came up short as the keeper remained steadfast.
“Coming into this game we were feeling pretty strong about ourselves,” Weaver said. “Coming from the bottom to the top we knew we had to get it done, came out here and did exactly what we needed.”
With less than 10 seconds left in the opening half, Caroline Coyer launched one into the net for the go ahead goal, 1-0. The second half was a dogfight as the girls became overly aggressive at times. The referees let them play it out for the most part — a fact that left many fans reeling in frustration, booing the officials.
Emma Rouse passed the ball with precision and poise for the Cougars near midfield. She said the chemistry clicked and she does not mind when the match gets a little rough during competition.
“We were really nervous coming into it, and it took us a while to get into the groove. We all just buckled down and felt we wanted to win and just put it together,” Rouse said. “I always think it's much better when the refs let you play… and there needs to be some physicality going on.”
Neither team shot the ball a lot, but one goal was all that mattered as time expired and the girls accomplished a feat never before completed in Oakton history.
“Every girl is special, and it was a team effort,” Coach Kasey Davenport said. “I only have good things to say because our team was solid and deserved it. We knew we would win we and we just had to piece it together.”
Oakton plays in the first round of the Northern Region tourney at home at 5 p.m. May 25.