Beavers claim school’s first-ever soccer title

11 years ago
Contributed photo/Robert F. Bukaty
    Tyra Shaw eyes a bouncing ball during Washburn’s state championship match against Richmond, played in Bath Saturday afternoon. Shaw was a key on defense and helped the Beavers to the school’s first state title in soccer in school history.

By George Almasi
Times Record Staff Writer

    BATH — A fleet of foot, never-say-die, Washburn girls soccer team traveled six hours to McMann Field on Saturday in a quest for its first-ever state Class D soccer gold ball.
    Mission accomplished.
    Although the Beavers gave up a late goal to Richmond’s Kelsea Anair, Washburn completed a 17-1 season and exacted a measure of revenge on last year’s 2-1, penalty-kick loss to Richmond to capture its first state title.

    Washburn dominated territorially. For instance, in a 0-0 first-half stalemate, the Beavers unleashed 18 shots on Richmond goaltender Kelsie Obie and her undaunted defense, led by Kalah Patterson, Nicole Blake, Haley Murphy and Chika Obie.
    But, the Beavers persevered throughout on this bone-chilling evening.
    Despite losing four players to injuries, although several came back to play, Beavers front-liners Mackenzie Worcester, Carmen Bragg, Joan Overman and Laina Mette swarmed the Bobcats’ crease.
    Early on after intermission, Richmond’s Murphy kicked out a sure goal near a fallen Kelsie Obie.
    Washburn finally broke through 11:34 into the second half when Worcester scooted down her right sideline and crossed over to a waiting Carsyn Koch on the far post. Bam! 1-0 Beavers.
    “We knew they were young and had lots of good players,” said Washburn coach Marcie Barbarula. “But, they have a great program. We lost to them last year and the girls wanted to get back to the state game.
    “The girls worked incredibly hard to get back here. We have four girls who run cross country so we like to run.”
    The Bobcats, who lost eight starters from last year, pushed from that point on, but the Beavers won most 50-50 balls and were able to go up 2-0 with 10:03 left when freshman Kristen Sarmiento converted a Bragg cross.
    It was Sarmiento’s first goal of the season and she was forced into duty with injuries to Mette and Emilia Churchill. “It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Barbarula said.
    However, the Beavers may have let their guard down as Kelsea Anair headed a Meranda Martin cross, Anair’s bid sailing into the upper left corner of the Washburn net just 27 seconds later.
    The win stopped Richmond’s three-year run on state titles and sent the Bobcats home with a 16-2 record.
    Richmond had some great scoring chances in the first half (an all-alone Cassidy Harriman was wide left in front of the goal from in close), although a restart by Worcester from 18 yards out sailed just over the crossbar.
    And, Kelsie Obie made a standout save late on Overman with the ball bouncing back to a waiting Koch, whose 12-yard blast sailed wide left.
    Barabula praised the defensive performances turned in by Kennedy Churchill and Tyra Shaw, who were asked to mark up Richmond’s top offensive weapons. Shaw did a particularly good job shutting down the Bobcats’ leading scorer, Amber Loon.
    Washburn outshot Richmond, 30-9, with Taylor Howe collecting six saves and Obie ending up with 15.
    “After losing last year in penalty kicks, the girls knew they would have to fight hard and give everything they had,” Barbarula said. “All the girls stepped up and played with determination — it was definitely a team effort.”