YORK TWP. — Just call Brookside’s girls soccer team party crashers.
On a night when Buckeye was putting the finishing touches on its second straight Patriot Athletic Conference crown and eighth overall, the Cardinals made it downright difficult.
Well, for a little while anyway.
The Bucks overcame a one-goal deficit with three unanswered as they added another championship Wednesday night with a 3-1 Stars Division victory over Brookside at the Thiele-Pierce Track and Soccer Complex.
“At first we were unfocused and thought this was going to be easy,” said Buckeye freshman Corrine Phillips, who had a goal and an assist. “It wasn’t clicking in our heads that we still needed to try. Just because it was the end of the season, we couldn’t flush it away with just one game.”
The Bucks (13-1-2, 9-0-1) were caught off guard by a motivated Cardinals squad.
Just 12 minutes in, Brookside sophomore Hannah Sours blasted a shot from 20 yards out that sailed just over the fingertips of Buckeye goalkeeper Hannah Stacy (4 saves) and trickled in.
“That goal woke us up for sure,” Bucks coach Bud Roberts said. “I think after our tie with Highland (on Monday), where we played so well, we were just a little lethargic. I guess the positive is that we focused and came back.
“As a coach you know mentally going into the game if they are really ready to play. You could tell that mentally they were enjoying the moment and the goal was reality.”
A handful of shot attempts in a 10-minute stretch eventually led to Phillips tying the game with 11:22 remaining in the half.
Sophie Barnes crossed a ball to the back corner of the box that the midfielder was able to touch with her outside foot and push to the right of goalie Arianna Sanchez. The slow roller was enough to beat a Cardinals defender that sprinted to try to save the ball.
Phillips had no clue the shot went in.
“I kind of blacked out for a minute,” said Phillips, who has 10 goals. “I stood up and was like, ‘Wait, did I score that?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, you scored’ and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, OK.’
“I saw the defender chasing after it, but then I went down. I thought it hit the post and went out or Sophie kicked it in, because I saw her look at me.”
Mera Serio scored in a similar fashion minutes later, taking a crossing pass from Norah Barnes and finding enough of a crease to net her fourth goal.
That was followed by Norah Barnes taking a pass from Phillips in the middle of the penalty box and scoring an insurance goal seconds into the final half.
Now that the job of winning the league is done, the work starts all over against next week for Buckeye, which is the second seed at the Brunswick Division II Sectional/District. The Bucks open Wednesday against third-seeded St. Vincent-St. Mary.
“We all know that St. V is going to be a huge game, because it’s all or nothing,” Phillips said. “We need to work on our defense right now and we all need to mesh, because that’s what we do.
“All of us just focus and come together as one. That’s why we get the plays we do.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.