Class 1A-4A girls soccer: MA repeats title feat
Dramatic goal in waning seconds gives Eagles championship
By Josh Moon Montgomery Advertiser Click here for link to original story
HUNTSVILLE— As the clock ticked under a minute in a scoreless Class 1A-4A championship game, Montgomery Academy hurriedly got into position for a free kick from about 40 yards out from the Randolph goal.Senior Nini Rabsatt-Smith had a decision to make — try to get the ball in front of the goal for her teammates to hopefully knock it in or simply go for the goal herself.
“I actually tried to score,” Rabsatt-Smith said. “When I hit it, I knew it was going to be close, either in or off the cross bar.”
It was perfect.
Rabsatt-Smith’s kick arced over the other players and fell inside the small opening between the crossbar and the outstretched hand of leaping Randolph goalkeeper Daria Zarzeka. And with just 24 seconds remaining, it was enough to give MA its second straight state title and earn Rabsatt-Smith the MVP award.
“It feels so great,” Rabsatt-Smith said. “It makes me so emotional just talking about it now, because I love this team so much. After the game, I just started bawling.”
The emotions built for the Eagles after a string of missed chances.
They controlled the action for the majority of the game, and nearly doubled Randolph in shots on goal (12-7) and took 11 corner kicks to the Raiders one.
“The girls worked so hard and they stayed with it,” MA head coach Emily Barber said. “We missed some opportunities around the goal. But this is a tough game. It all worked out in the end.”
And it was a perfect ending.
“I don’t know that I’ve seen a better game, much less been a part of one,” said MA senior Erin Katz. “It really couldn’t have been better for us — to win a state title after a game like that with that ending. Randolph ... fought us all the way.”
This was MA’s second straight state title — an accomplishment the girls team had never managed.
“I’ve always told our girls that to win a state championship it takes talent, but to repeat it takes character,” Barber said. “This team had a lot of character, and it showed in the results.”