Preparing for overtime, Ava Goodwin and her Reading teammates were feeling the pressure. Norwood gained possession off the draw. But once the top-seeded Rockets (22-1) stole the ball and moved down the field, they never let go.
And 4 minutes, 23 seconds into the extra session, Goodwin potted the winner as Reading captured its first state title, 2-1, nudging past the second-seeded Mustangs (20-3) in the Division 2 championship game at WPI’s Alumni Field.
“We like to score first, and we didn’t, so I feel like our energy was kind of fading down,” said Goodwin, a senior forward. “But . . . we’re very conditioned, we’re very communicative, and we’re able to pass, so I started to feel a little more confident in the fact that we’re able to get it down [the field].”
On the winner, senior Autumn Matthews sent a tip to Goodwin from the right side of the net, and Goodwin knocked it in from the left post before Norwood goalie Ava O’Neil (8 saves) could slide for the save.
The game was scoreless until Norwood junior Ava Hines snuck the ball past Reading goalie Myles Lakin (7 saves) off a corner with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
Reading sophomore forward Danielle Bowers netted the equalizer midway through the fourth.
Heading into 7-v-7, Reading coach Taylor Reynolds told her team to play the same game as always.
“I call it the fifth quarter. Some of our best games are played [in] four quarters, and what’s one more?” Reynolds said. “We know what to do — dig deeper.”
For the 10 seniors on the team, the win was the perfect end to their careers.
“A lot of the seniors have been on my team since freshman year. It was a work in the making — a build-up for four years,” Reynolds said. “They earned it to the last possible second.”