By ROB WITHAM
H-P Sports Correspondent
So what does a team do when they earn the number one seed in their first postseason tournament, yet another team gets most of the attention? Well, after you wait out Mother Nature, you do what comes natural. Go out and win.
That was the mantra for Hanover girls soccer as they marched to the final Conference 20 championship, first eliminating Powhatan in a storm-delayed match 2-0 before battling tooth and nail with defending champion Monacan, scoring in the second half to claim a 2-1 win and a chance to hoist the trophy.
Part one came in last Wednesday’s semifinal as the Hawks welcomed Powhatan for semifinal action. Rachel Andrzejewski got Hanover on the board first in the 13th minute, then, about ten minutes later, the skies darkened, lightning arrived, and the teams headed into the school to wait out a delay.
A rainstorm and a double rainbow later, they returned, the Hawks pouring offensive pressure, but Powhatan goalkeeper Kylie Maiolo proved to be a very worthy opponent, keeping Hanover off the scoreboard for a 1-0 halftime score. It would be Andrzejewski who would provide some appreciated cushion, scoring her second goal in the 62nd minute for the 2-0 final.
“It was frustrating. We had so many opportunites, the score could have been quite a bit higher,” noted Hanover head coach John Andruss. “Rachel stepped up tonight, and I think it was her best match of the year in terms of intensity, getting in behind people, taking on people one on one.”
The win clinched a 4A East Region berth, but the Hawks left the field hungry. Monacan was coming for match to determine Conference 20 supremacy, and, on Friday night, it was another Hawk who stepped up offensively to get the job done.
Lauren Didlake has been one of the most consistent players for Hanover all season, but never more than in the Hawks’ 2-1 hard-fought victory over the Chiefs. She opened, and closed, the scoring, as Hanover earned a home match in their regional opener with the win.
“There was scrambling going on in the box, the ball was headed out and I was near the goalie box,” Didlake said of the game-winning goal. “I lifted the ball and it went just over the goalie’s head and dropped in. Then we actually switched defensive formation to a 4-5-1, so we definitely settled back against their outside midfielders.”
Led by goalkeeper Mackenzie Hoang, the defense made Didlake’s second tally stand up, and the victory put Hanover on home field Monday, where they scored early and often to shut out Eastern View 4-0 in the 4A East Region Quarterfinals, their first win in regional play in three tries. Now over the hump, Hanover needed a win at home over King’s Fork Wednesday in region semifinal action to clinch a berth in the 4A State Tournament. Consult our Facebook page for match results.
Out of town, the Atlee Raiders girls team got a very early goal from Riley Cook, then almost made a 1-0 lead stand up, but Broad Run scored near the end of regulation to force overtime, setting the stage for heroics from CeeCee Harris, who scored a golden goal in the fourth overtime session to give the Raiders a 2-1 victory in 5A North Region Quarterfinal play Friday night. The victory propelled Atlee into the semifinals, where they traveled to Stafford to face Mountain View in a match played Wednesday night. Results can be found on our Facebook page.