They say it’s tough to beat a team three times in a season.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls’ soccer team proved why.
Down 1-0 late in the Div. 2 state final to Silver Lake, a team the Panthers hadn’t scored against in their previous two meetings, they finally broke through — erupting for three goals in the final 11 minutes to capture their first-ever state title.
“I’m at a loss for words,” said 26-year W-H head coach David Floeck. “We’ve worked so hard. This is a tremendous accomplishment for them.”
Senior Olivia Borgen, who was knocked out of the Panthers’ state semifinal win Wednesday with a sprained right ankle, snuck home the equalizer in the 69th minute.
“She is gutsy,” Floeck said. “She has been in a [walking] boot all the way until we got on the bus for the game. She said, ‘Coach, I’m taping it. I’m going to give everything I got.’”
“I just needed to give it my all,” Borgen said. “It was the last game. Even if I was in a boot 30 minutes before I came here, I just needed to push through and give it my all. We’ve worked so hard to get here. I’m just so proud of this whole team.”
It remained tied until the 77th minute when Lakers goalkeeper Emma Hudson got called for a foul, taking down a W-H senior captain Nora Manning in the box. The result? A penalty kick.
Fellow senior captain Ava Melia buried it for a 2-1 lead.
“Its just the best feeling ever,” Melia said. “I could not be happier. This team deserves it.”
Manning sealed it with a goal of her own in stoppage time.
“I’m so excited,” Manning said. “It was our goal from the beginning of the season. It feels so amazing to finally achieve that.”