Maddie O’Brian clanged one shot off the crossbar and a second off the left post Thursday at Villa Victoria.
She wouldn’t be denied again.
O’Brian punched home the golden goal with 5:00 left in overtime as Solebury (2-0) rallied to top the Yellowjackets (1-1) 5-4.
“I was kind of upset that I missed an earlier penalty kick,” said O’Brian, who earned a hat trick with the game winner. “That fired me up.”
“We only have five returning girls from last year so it’s pretty much a brand new team,” goalie Cate Cole offered. “This win is a big deal. It’s really exciting to get our second win in our second game.”
O’Brian fielded a Jennifer Crovo pass and beat her defender to tally the game’s first goal. Kelly Hochenberger thumped in O’Brian’s cross to make it 2-0 one minute later.
“Everything for us starts with Kelly’s energy, whether it’s her pressuring their defense or us targeting her with the ball,” said Solebury coach Tim Hall.
Villa Victoria scored the next three goals – and Cole had to extend far to her left midway in the second half for a pretty save that would have made it 4-2.
Solebury stresses “a lot of communication between all of us,” said Cole, who recorded seven saves. “It’s important because if we don’t, we could end up a bad situation. That’s what we emphasize.”
The Spartans knotted it at three in the 64th minute after Nicole Cosner beat two defenders on an impressive run.
“I think it definitely put some momentum into the game,” Cosner said. “Before that goal, we gathered and agreed we had to get our stuff together. That goal riled us up. I saw the opportunity from the throw-in and I was hungry for that goal.”
Hochenberger got fouled seven minutes later. After being stopped on an earlier penalty kick, O’Brian converted to put Solebury up 4-3.
“I was trying to take deep breaths and I kept telling myself ‘Don’t miss this one.’ I went for it,” O’Brian described, “and hoped for the best.”
“We had a lot of situations in the first half and we said to ourselves that we have to do this for everyone because we’re a family, coaches included,” Cole added.
The Yellowjackets tied the score in the 76th minute after a scrum from a corner kick.
Thursday marked the second of four straight road games to open Solebury’s season. The Spartans romped 8-0 at Community Academy of Philadelphia in their opener. O’Brian and Hochenberger each registered a hat trick.
“We have five or six kids who have been in the program for years and are on the same page,” Hall described. “Then we have half of the team who is brand new. Right now, we’re seeing what we are going to meld into. But the new kids have been fantastic and the older kids have set a great example.”
On Saturday, Solebury lost 8-1 at South Hunterdon. Solebury concluded its travels with a 5-2 victory Tuesday at Girard College.
Solebury, the defending Penn Jersey White Division champions, finally gets home cooking this Thursday when it hosts Cristo Rey in a conference tilt.
Last Thursday’s win was enormous for Hall’s charges. “Villa Victoria is a big measuring stick for us because we tend to be pretty comparable,” Hall pointed out. “This is a big deal for the girls. We have a lot of girls without a ton of game experience so for them to see overtime, a golden goal and PKs was pretty cool.”
Cosner was blunt on Thursday. “Every year, we want to beat Villa,” she said. “It would have been a sad bus ride if we lost.”