The first order of business for the Farmington High School team was to get a victory Tuesday against host and crosstown rival Harrison in girls soccer.
The Falcons did that with a 2-0 win and completed an undefeated season in the OAA Blue Division, winning the title with a 6-0 record.
A bonus would have been a second consecutive city championship. Farmington had to win by five goals to repeat or four to share the trophy with North Farmington, which defeated Harrison, 4-0.
“That wasn’t an emphasis,” Falcons coach Matt Gasparotto said. “The emphasis for us was first and foremost win the game. Whatever North did against Harrison, that’s completely out of our hands and our control. If that decides the city championship, so be it.
“I’m happy with my girls. I still think we’re a quality team. It’s nice to play these games, because it shows the quality we have in this city.
“I think my girls are top-notch. If they’re not the best team tonight, they certainly have been one of the best teams for this entire season.”
The Falcons, who are 10-5-2 overall, got all the offense they needed when junior Teagan Evans converted a penalty kick 11 minutes into the game after a foul on senior Katie Nuttall.
That may have indirectly contributed to Farmington’s second goal with 12:15 remaining in the game.
Nuttall again was fouled in the box, and the Harrison players seemed to freeze momentarily, as if they expected the referee to whistle the play dead.
But there was no foul and no stoppage. The play continued and, before the Hawks could react to it, Farmington sophomore Kayla Sharp alertly put the rebound inside the left post.
“I think that call early in the game made (the Hawks) a little gunshy inside the box,” Harrison coach Stacy Punzal said, “because they didn’t want it to happen again. When the refs make a call like that, it changes how you play just a ltitle bit.
“(The penalty kick) dug a hole for us that I thought we were going to be able to overcome. In the end, we didn’t. Our defense stood strong, I thought. You have to capitalize on the opportunities you have, and we didn’t do that.”
With a 1-0 lead for much of the game and a solid defense on which to rely, Farmington was in a good position for the duration of the game.
The Falcons didn’t fall back into a defensive shell, however. They continued to press the attack and stayed on the offensive, but the Hawks also played a good defensive game.
“Throughout the whole game, it just seemded we could never develop a rhythm,” Gasparotto said, giving credit to the Hawks. “They were pretty inspired to play hard, and they disrupted a lot of things we tried to do. We didn’t have a lot of time on the ball.
“To be fair, I think we had numerous quality chances, and we couldn’t find that little separation to get a shot off or find that through ball.”
The Falcons pressed hard at the offensive end in the final minutes, but the Hawks (5-5-5) and senior goalie Maya Jamison stood resolute.
Jamison stopped a nice header by Angela Boyce with less than three minutes to play, and she made a save at the right post on another shot by Nuttall.
Farmington thought it had a third goal with 1:18 left. Boyce was a step ahead of Jamison and put a header past her. The referee waved it off, telling Gasparotto afterward there was an infraction.
“Maya has been doing that all season,” Punzal said of the saves. “The more shots the better in her mind. But our defense played tough. I thought Madison Jones had a really good defensive effort. She and Jess Khoury had fantastic games at the center backs.”
The teams will meet again Tuesday in a Division 2 district tournament game at Farmington.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge for both teams,” Gasparotto said. “Both have a lot of work to do. We have a lot to figure out on our end, and I imagine Stacy has some ideas that she got from this game.”
“We know exactly what to expect,” Punzal said, “and we’re encouraged that maybe it will go our way next time.
“I saw one half of the North game with Farmington, so I didn’t know a lot about Farmington. Now I do. Now we know what to expect Tuesday night.”
The Falcons had already clinched the Blue Division title prior to Tuesday and will move to the OAA White next year.
“I know the girls are looking forward to being challenged and to what the next division has to offer,” Gasparotto said. “Whether we won, tied or lost, it didn’t matter (Tuesday), but I didn’t tell the girls that.”