WESTMINSTER — Playing what teammates called “Phantom soccer,” the Proctor girls soccer team dominated their finals match against Rivendell from the start, winning Saturday’s Division IV state championship game, 6-0. It’s was the team’s ninth straight appearance in the championship game and its eighth state championship, though the last time the Phantoms won was four years ago when seniors Maddie Fladders and Allie Almond were freshmen.
Flanders led the way for the Phantoms with two goals in the first half to make it 2-0 at half-time, and her third goal early in the second half seemed to have put the game away as the Raptors would allow three more goals in the half while the Phantoms excelled in all aspects of the game.
Like her sister had before her, Maggie McKearin played a big role in the game, contributing four assists and a goal. Those four assists would give her 19 for the year to lead the Phantoms, and her goal brought her total for the season to 27 — second only to Flanders whose three goals were her 28th, 29th and 30th of the season. (Abby McKearin, who graduated five years ago, was the state’s all-time leading goal scorer at 168 in her high school career.)
Almond, who has been playing with a sprained ankle, and Jenna Davine had the other two scores for the Phantoms.
Proctor started Saturday’s game with strong offensive play, keeping the bulk of the action on their offensive third of the field. After several long shots on goal, Flanders took a sharp pass from McKearin and carried it deep into the box before booting a hard shot past Raptor goalie Cora Day with 24:20 left in the half.
That goal was followed eight minutes later when McKearin passed to Flanders who shot from 20 yards out on a strike that perfectly cut inside the far post to make it 2-0 at the half.
After Day denied a long shot by McKearin with a nice save to start the second half, Flanders scored her third goal with a blast from 20 yards out that caught the net high in the corner. Next, Davine converted an assist from McKearin with a nice goal at 29:06 left in the contest, and less than two minutes later Almond took a pass from McKearin from 25 yards out to make it 5-0 with 27:16 remaining. McKearin sealed the scoring with about 12 minutes to go off a Flanders’ assist.
The Phantom’s Rachel Stuhlmueller was solid in goal, though the Raptors did not threaten often. Angel Traverse took over for Stuhlmueller with seven minutes remaining and made a couple nice saves off Rivendell threats, including some daring plays that saw her charging out of the net to take the ball away from would be shooters at the last possible second.
It was the Phantoms’ 11th shutout on their 17-1 record; the No. 3 Raptors finished the season at 11-7.
SEMIFINAL AGAINST ARLINGTON
The Proctor girls got the finals this year by beating their nemesis, the Arlington Eagles. For two years running the Proctor girls’ soccer team has been defeated in the finals by the Arlington Eagles. Not this year. The Phantoms defeated Arlington in the semifinals on Wednesday, Oct. 30, to earn their way back to the state championship match after a three-year hiatus.
The Phantoms took a two score lead after a pair of goals from Flanders. The first came off a McKearin assist and the second was Flanders taking advantage of a mistake by keeper Denita Moore. But the Eagles are never out of the fight.
The two teams split their two regular season meetings and in the match that Proctor won, they were up 4-0 before the Eagles came roaring back to tie that game. Same thing would happen in this game. Arlington’s Haley Mattison scored two quick goals and suddenly the game tied 2-2 at halftime.
In the second half, Proctor upped the offensive tempo and seemed to always be pressing towards the goal or ripping a shot at Moore. On the other end of the field, the Phantom’s Stuhlmueller was strong in the net, snagging balls from the air and charging over-aggressive attackers. She had help from Maddison Lee and Hope Kelley as well as senior Allie Almond clearing any balls out of the box.
Midway through the second half, McKearin found some breathing room from her defender and broke away leaving room for a screaming shot past the keeper and into the net for what would be the winning goal, 3-2. She nearly scored a few minutes later in a one-on-one situation, but waited a touch too long and did not leave room for the shot that ended up heading straight into the waiting hands of Moore. But the defense held, sending the Phantoms into the finals and a state championship.