Just because the Fairfield girls’ soccer team can only finish as high as second in the Southeast Conference, doesn’t mean they aren’t having fun disorganizing the league standings like they did Thursday when they defeated visiting Washington 2-1 on penalty kicks.
“I didn’t want to just roll over and die, especially against this team,” said senior captain Bryanna Popejoy. “We’re trying to mess up the conference race a little bit. Also, personally, I needed to have a final goodbye and show this team that you can remember someone by the way they play.”
Popejoy and her team created a memorable final kick on the pitch with the come-from-behind overtime thriller that saw them trail 1-0 early.
“I was on the right post and they shot it and curved it into the opposite corner,” explained goalie Trisha Westphal of the Demons lone goal in regulation.
After conceding the lead early, Fairfield fought back and found Clare Else who was ready to sniper one of her long shots into the net.
“I kicked it with my left foot and it went really, really slow into the top of the goal,” explained the sophomore.
“I was a good distance away from it so I could get the sweet spot of my foot and the right amount of power on it. It was a little surprising, because it wasn’t with my dominant foot, but I was in the perfect spot to get it to go in.”
After both teams failed to put the other away, the teams played two scoreless overtime periods before going to penalty kicks, again.
“I’m sure she was sitting there mad at us for letting this happen again,” said Else of Westphal, who just laughed.
After allowing Washington to convert their first three PK attempts and with FHS going 0-2, Captain Popejoy kicked her final ball for the Trojans into the back of the net and was followed by two more successful attempts that sent the refs into a confused situation that almost resulted in the two goalies trading PKs until someone scored.
Luckily, Fairfield skipper Brittany Winslow came running onto the field and corrected the unusual misunderstanding of the rules before a second set of players attempted solo shots on goal.
FHS defeated Washington 3-2 in the second five attempts with junior Erica Olson securing the victory with her first PK of the season.
“It hasn’t really sunk in that I’m never going to play on this field in a Fairfield jersey again, and that means a lot,” reflected Popejoy after the celebration died down. “Now that I’m saying it out loud, it’s sinking in a bit.”
FHS travels to Fort Madison tonight for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.