The Westhill High School girls soccer team had not allowed a goal throughout the entire Class LL state tournament -- until Friday night's final. And that lone goal turned out to be the one that sunk the Vikings. They were unable to beat a rock-solid Shelton defense and missed their chance to repeat as state champions, losing 1-0.
"That's soccer for you. If you don't take advantage of opportunities, it's a good chance you're going to lose the game," Westhill head coach Dave Flower said. "We appreciate being here, having won it before, and now [Shelton] gets to have that feeling. They're a great team and I give them all the credit with how they played."
Shelton's Alex Farley took a free kick two minutes into the second half and rocketed it over the head of goalkeeper Jen Osher into the far left corner of the net. Osher was completely caught off guard, but could not have stopped such a perfectly kicked ball if she tried.
Giving up their first goal of the state tournament seemed to take the wind out of Westhill's sails, as nothing seemed to go their way the rest of the night. Westhill had difficulty penetrating the offensive box, getting only one corner kick in the game.
Shelton completely neutralized Westhill forward Tessa Dunster, who was hobbled by a leg injury. Dunster had scored the game-winning goal in the two previous playoff games for the Vikings. With their most potent offensive weapon silenced, Westhill could not get much going in the offensive zone. Lack of communication also hurt Westhill as players ran into one another on several occasions going for the ball.
Dunster did get one solid attack on the ball and was robbed of a corner kick when a shot ricocheted off a defender, but the referee ruled a goal kick. Aulona Velaj had one last desperate shot with three seconds to play, but it landed safely in the arms of Shelton's keeper.
Westhill finishes the season at 13-3-4, including the state tournament.
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