Two years ago, BFA-Fairfax sophomores Anissa Hartmann and Morgan Young experienced the depths of playoff despair as the Bullets lost an epic Division III girls soccer semifinal versus Stowe in a game most memorable for an astounding penalty-kick tie-breaker that ended on the 40th and final shot.
Wednesday, the Bullets’ dynamic scoring duo reversed their playoff fortunes against the Raiders, each scoring to propel BFA-Fairfax to a 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Stowe.
“Anissa and Morgan are such prolific scorers and I had a feeling things might play out the way they did today,” BFA-Fairfax coach Geri Witalec said. “I’m so happy their soccer careers have come full circle and I’m happy for them and happy for our entire team.”
With the win, the second-seeded Bullets (16-1) advance to take on undefeated and top-seeded juggernaut Peoples Academy (17-0) in Saturday’s championship game. Game time is 10 a.m. Saturday at Williamstown High School.
Hartmann got the Bullets off to a fine start with a nifty strike 18:03 into the match.
Sophomore midfielder Kayla Mathieu won a 50-50 ball near the midfield stripe and eased a pass through to Hartmann, who secured the ball despite tight coverage. Hartmann fended off her defender on a long run down the center of the field. As goalie Caroline Armbruster (five saves) charged off her line to cut down the angle, Hartmann nudged a shot just under the keeper and into the back of the net.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” said Hartmann. “It was a little toe-poke. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.”
The goal was the 55th of Hartmann’s career, tying her for the school record. It was her 26th this season.
Young doubled the lead on her 24th goal of the season, a perfectly-placed direct kick from 35 yards out with 30:59 to play.
“I was aiming for the upper far corner, but fortunately it hit the bottom of the crossbar and went inside the far post,” said Young, whose goal was her 24th of the season.
“Anissa and Morgan are the ying to each other’s yang,” said Witalec. “When one is having a scoring day, then the other is setting the other person up and vice-versa.”
Stowe (9-6-2) didn’t relent despite the deficit and rallied to within a goal with 22:04 to play when sophomore Bailey Sherwin ripped a shot to the right side past Bullet goalie Emily Miner (five saves).
Stowe coach Tim Ziegler, who made a smart adjustment in the second half by bringing a defender forward to create more offense, said he was disappointed with the outcome by pleased by his team’s grit in the face of adversity.
“I thought we played well,” said Ziegler. “(BFA-Fairfax) is a good team. I think they deserved to advance, but we gave them everything we had. I can’t take anything away from a 15-1 team, but I don’t think there was a lot of difference between the two teams. “