WEST DEPTFORD – The officials arrived 30 minutes late. Three shots hit the posts or the crossbar.
Monday’s South Jersey Group 2 first-round playoff game between the West Deptford and Deptford high school girls’ soccer teams featured some oddities. Nonetheless, the seeds held true as the No. 8 Eagles topped the No. 9 Spartans 2-1.
Three seniors led the way for West Deptford (13-5-1).
“At the beginning of the year, we went down the shore and I told them, ‘this goes by fast,’
” Eagles’ coach Veronica McGinniss said of a team bonding trip to Wildwood. “At team brunch, they were saying, ‘oh my god, it went so fast.’
“I think every single senior knew (the reality of elimination).”
Leading scorer Sam Budd became the first upperclassman to put her stamp on the tilt just 1:45 into the game, striking a shot past Deptford keeper Juliette Tobin to open the scoring.
The Spartans (10-7-3) didn’t let it bother them for long. Brianna Jankauskas evened the game in the 10th minute.
West Deptford took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish with 13:16 left before halftime. Another senior, Lauren Rasmusson corralled Caroline Perry’s corner kick and put it in the net.
“I saw the opportunity coming across from Caroline and just finished it,” Rasmusson said of the game-winner. “We never underestimate our opponents. They always come out strong.”
Eagles’ keeper Maggie Davis completed the trio of 12th-grade heroes. Davis stopped two shots in the first half and made her presence felt especially in the second 40 minutes.
She notched three more saves, none bigger than a diving attempt with a little more than 16 minutes left. Her aggressiveness thwarted Deptford throughout the match.
Two times the Spartans felt they’d solved Davis, only to see one shot hit the crossbar and another hit the post.
“It is what it is, sports is a game of inches,” Deptford coach Irv McFarland said. “That’s tough. It’s tough to score on their goalie, you’ve got to give her credit.”
Rasmusson admitted Davis “saved us.”
McGinniss took it a step further.
“I think Maggie is one of the most underrated goalies in South Jersey,” the coach said. “She doesn’t make a ton of saves, but when she makes saves, they’re big ones. She was definitely a huge factor today.”
The win punched West Deptford’s ticket to the second round where it will face top-seeded Cedar Creek on the road Thursday. The Pirates (15-2-1) topped Collingswood on Monday 6-0.
Mark Trible; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com
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WEST DEPTFORD 2
Play of the game: West Deptford senior Lauren Rasmusson got the eventual game-winning goal with 13:16 left in the first half on a corner kick from Caroline Perry.
Player of the game: Eagles’ keeper Maggie Davis made four saves, but her aggressiveness atop the penalty box helped disrupt Deptford’s offense.
Well said: “She doesn’t make a ton of saves, but when she makes saves, they’re big ones.” – West Deptford coach Veronica McGinniss on Davis.