Western’s keeper Emily Sposato was just trying to stay relaxed.
“I just kept looking at my teammates and kept thinking about how good it would be to win,” Sposato said.
So was Western freshman Sophie Lanahan.
“Scoring on the first one definitely helped me get rid of my nerves,” Lanahan said. “All the teammates around me were so supportive.”
Both did their job well enough to lift the Warriors to a 5-4 win over Charlottesville in the seventh round of 1v1s Tuesday night after the two teams played to a 1-1 deadlock through regulation and 7v7 overtime.
Sposato stuffed Charlottesville’s seventh shooter by aggressively coming out of the net, kicking the ball away as she drove before batting down a long-range shot. That gave Lanahan a chance to end it, and she did with a hard move to her left and a reverse chip for the goal. The score set off a wild celebration for the Warriors, who’ve been on the short end of the stick in so many close games recently including losses to STAB, Covenant and Albemarle that they just desperately needed this one.
“This just felt really good,” Lanahan said. “We’ve started to have three games a week and it has been really rough losing a lot of them so this is definitely a motivator. We’re going to come back in the next two weeks and be totally pumped.”
Western nearly didn’t get a chance at overtime after Charlottesville junior Cleo Engle gave the Black Knights a 1-0 lead early in the second and the CHS defense held Western scoreless most of the rest of the way. Then with 6:43 left, Western sophomore Hermione Going broke through with the equalizer. That eventually led to 7v7 and the 1v1 battle where both keepers — Sposato and Charlottesville’s Casey Casarez were largely dominant, winning three of the first five battles each. Erica Repich and Lanahan had Western’s two scores in that stretch while Olivia Weatherford and Ashlynn Cherrix had Charlottesville’s.
“This is great — for us to be able to come out here and compete with a team that has a lot of skill and athleticism just shows the improvement we’ve been making all season,” said Charlottesville coach Lindsay Clark. “That now gives us a leg up for the playoffs because we’re going to see teams like that come playoff time. It was a great experience and a great game.”
After a long delay as the officials sorted out the rules at the end of the first round of 1v1s, In the sixth round, both shooters got the better of the keepers, setting up the critical round seven where Sposato and Lanahan provided the difference-making plays.
The Warriors face a quick turnaround as they travel to take on Monticello Tuesday night while Charlottesville gets a break until Monday when they face Louisa on the road.