The last time Manchester Valley and Westminster met on the field, the Mavericks saw their season end at the hands of their county foe in a Class 3A South playoff game.
It took penalty kicks to decide a winner, and Westminster’s Haley Sheldon nailed the clincher that sent the Owls to the region final.
Man Valley junior forward Briana Bush and the rest of her Mavericks teammates didn’t forget.
The Mavericks had four different players score as they got past the Owls 4-2 on Saturday. Senior forward MJ D’Anthony had a goal and an assist and sophomore goalie Sydney Resau made eight saves in goal.
“It feels really good to play them again,” said Bush, whose team improved to 3-2, 1-0 in the county. “Last year we had a really devastating loss so it feels really good. I felt like we had some unfinished business we had to take care of and I’m really glad we capped four goals today.”
There were scoring chances for both teams throughout the majority of the first half, but none were finished. Freshman forward Kenzie D’Anthony scored the first goal of the game with 3:48 left in the half. The Owls were quick to respond when senior midfielder Margie Spann sent a header into the back of the net off a corner kick.
“The girls were ready for it,” Mavs coach Denise Hoff said. “We’ve been working so hard and you can see the effort they put out on the field. They don’t let any ball go without putting pressure on them.”
About six minutes into the second half, Bush scored off an assist from another teammate. Westminster, again, answered back a few minutes later with an unassisted tally from junior defender Brie Dewan to even the teams at 2-2.
The Owls (2-2-2, 0-1) garnered two corner-kick chances, taken by junior midfielder Corrie Karas, with about 20 minutes remaining, and the Mavericks defense continued to pressure the ball back out.
Junior midfielder Savannah Flater sent a ball up to junior forward Jeri Garland who netted the Mavs’ third goal after a brief collision with an Owls defender.
MJ D’Anthony received a pass and sprinted up the left sideline with about three minutes left to play. She took a shot to goal that careened off the back of Westminster senior defender Aleena Griffith and into the net that sealed the victory for the Mavericks.
“We have this thing on our team where we have our ‘Win our own battles’ and we can win our battles as a team,” Bush said. “Coming out strong and winning our own battles really gave us confidence to know we could actually do this and we could win. We worked together as a team and that’s what got us the W.”
The Owls garnered eight total saves on the day, six from senior Sydney Popielski and two from junior Kristen Janeczek.
Hoff said the Mavericks have been working with a new formation and said she was pleased with the way her girls put that in play on Saturday. They lost 15 seniors last year, she added, and every effort counts.
“It feels so good and sometimes teams can’t rely on other players, but we can rely on everyone,” Bush said. “She’s coming in; she can work just as hard as the other. The people on the bench aren’t on the bench because they’re worse; they’re coming in and doing just as well as the starters are.”
Goals: W-Margie Spann, Brie Dewan; MV-Kenzie D’Anthony, MJ D’Anthony, Jeri Garland, Briana Bush.
Assists: MV-MJ D’Anthony, Garland, Savannah Flater.
Saves: W-8 (Sydney Popielski 6, Kristen Janeczek 2); MV-8 (Sydney Reseau).
Halftime: Tied, 1-1.