Walter Johnson senior Cammie Murtha spent the first 80 minutes of the Class 4A girls’ soccer state championship game feeding her teammates.
But, with 2:36 left in the first overtime, the Wisconsin-bound senior ate up her own glory after scoring the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Perry Hall Friday night at Loyola University Maryland's Ridley Athletic Complex.
It was the first state title for Walter Johnson (18-1) in its first appearance in the finals.
“Everyone is going to remember that this team won the first state title for WJ,” Walter Johnson coach Liz Robinson said.
Neither team held back in the first half when four goals were scored.
None were scored in the second half.
Murtha’s game-winning goal came after she got a soft touch, following a collision with the Perry Hall goalie Ally Small and a defender, and the ball trickled into the net.
Murtha’s 30th goal of the season was her most memorable.
“This one is definitely number one,” she said. “The goals leading up are awesome, but it felt so great to finally get one in this game and especially to win the game for this team.”
Perry Hall (15-4), making its fifth trip to the state finals, with the last coming in 2003, was also seeking its first title and coach Matt Smoot couldn’t fault the effort after watching his team rally from two one-goal deficits in the first half.
“I felt like it was a very even game, it was back and forth, I'm sure it was an amazing game to watch from the stands,” Smoot said. “We are very disappointed about the way it ended, but I can’t say enough about the caliber of players that were out there, especially on Perry Hall.”
Perry Hall had the first scoring opportunity after a pass from Ryleigh Fachler led to a shot from 30 yards out by Rachel Bohli that hit the top of the crossbar and bounced over the goal with 35:30 left.
Just over three minutes later, Walter Johnson struck when Murtha raced down the left wing and fed a low cross to Carrie Jo Maloney for a goal and 1-0 lead.
Perry Hall’s first shot on goal came with just over 19 minutes left after a corner kick by Eleni Serevetas led to a head shot on goal that was saved by goalie Allie Holden.
Perry Hall scored the equalizer with 18:30 left in the half on a goal by Fachler off an assist by Summer Meisel.
Walter Johnson’s same duo that combined for the first goal gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead with 9:17 left in the first half when Murtha fed Maloney in the box and she deposited it in the net. It was Murtha’s 24th assist of the season.
Perry Hall tied the game at 2-2 when Fachler scored her second goal of the game and 14th of the season after a nifty pass in the box from Kara Dietrich.
"When we went down, we just needed to get that energy back and once we score we just have a lot of energy and the positivity just goes up," Fachler said.
The Gators had an early chance in the second half after a shot by Bohli in the box was saved by Holden.
With 32:35 left, a free kick by Phoebe Canoles led to a shot in close by Meisel that sailed over the goal.
Less than two minutes later, Fachler outran a defender and nearly had a one-on-one with Holden, but the Wildcat keeper came way out of the box and cut off the angle for a shot.
Walter Johnson almost ended it with just under four minutes remaining when Murtha was ahead of the Perry Hall defense after a pass by Anya Ditchek, but Gator goalie Small raced out and made a diving save.
Ditchek’s rebound shot went over the open goal and the game went into overtime.
Small was helped out all evening by strong defensive play from Canoles, Aya Neal and midfielder Rachael Wilsynski.
"For the most part, the goals that they got, they earned, they were very good goals, the first two, and other than that we were standing on our heads back there," Smoot said. "We did a great job playing team defense and with Phoebe being the center of that I think that really helped us there."
Murtha almost won it for the Wildcats 118 seconds into overtime when she took a shot at an open goal from 10 yards out that caromed off the near post.
“When I missed that open goal I was crying on the ground for a while,” said Murtha, who was consoled by a teammate.
Moments later, the tears had dried up.
Goals: PH-Fachler 2, WJ-Maloney 2, Murtha 1
Assists: PH-Meisel 1, Dietrich 1, WJ-Murtha 2
Saves: PH-Small 4, WJ Holden 4