Deerfield-Windsor’s Teasie Williams clears a ball in Monday’s GISA Class AAA Final 4 game against Augusta Prep. Williams scored one of the Lady Knights’ two goals on a throw-in during the first half. (Staff Photo: John Millikan)
ALBANY — Deerfield-Windsor’s Cheyenne Colvin was a heartbeat away from tying Monday’s GISA Class AAA Final 4 girls soccer game against Augusta Prep in the final seconds of the first half.
“It was me and the keeper one-on-one. I could have nailed it,” Colvin said. “I could have tied the game right there.”
But she never got the chance.
With Colvin feet away from the net, the referee mistakenly whistled the play dead, virtually taking a goal away from Lady Knights, who weren’t able to threaten offensively the rest of the game and were eliminated from the postseason in heartbreaking fashion.
After a flurry of goals in the first half, neither team scored after halftime and Augusta Prep hung on for a 4-3 victory to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
There were highlight-reel goals in the first half, and tough defensive stands in the second half — but DWS coach Aly Joslin ultimately left the field shaking his head about the final play before halftime. With about 10 seconds left in the half, Deerfield’s Teasie Williams tossed a perfect inbounds throw in front of the goal to Colvin, but the referee initially called Colvin offsides and whistled the play dead as Deerfield’s captain was winding up for the game-tying shot.
The only problem?
“There are no offsides on a throw in,” Joslin said. “We are in the semifinals of the state playoffs, and there is an official that doesn’t know the rules and makes a mistake that big.”
As the players were walking off the field for halftime, the official acknowledged his mistake and put 20 seconds back on the clock — something that Augusta Prep coach Tom Norton had an issue with — but the Lady Knights never got another look at the goal.
Colvin was sure she would have made her shot count.
“I would have killed it, because I had nobody in front of me,” she said. “The ref says, ‘I’m sorry, it was a mistake,’ so we got another 20 seconds. You can make that play once, but you aren’t going to make it again.”
It was a disappointing way to end a first half that featured five goals and stellar offense from both teams, who were fighting for a chance to meet powerhouse Stratford Academy in the championship.
The Lady Knights struck first with Williams’ goal on a throw-in with 21:14 on the clock. Williams took aim for the corner of the goal with her throw, which skidded off the hands of the Lady Cavaliers’ keeper and into the net.
However, 70 seconds later Augusta Prep tied the game on a Jessica Powell goal that was just out of the reach of Deerfield keeper Jordan Lane, who was the Lady Knights’ lone senior. Deerfield struck back just as quickly with a goal from Parker Morgan, who scored on a deflection from a Colvin shot to put the Lady Knights on top, 2-1, with 18:59 left.
Augusta Prep bounced back and took the lead with two goals in a span of 1:27 — the first on a Bailee Cloutier penalty kick goal after a hand ball in the keeper’s box at the 9:56 mark and the second on a Banks Collier goal with 8:29 left.
“The pace of the first 40 minutes was incredible,” Joslin said. “I have never seen two teams go at each other like that at this level. It wasn’t ugly. It was good soccer up and down the field. There were opportunities being created, good passing, good movement, good runs. It was pleasant to watch.”
As fun as it was to watch, it left both teams exhausted in the second half, and neither squad could get much flow going on offense.
But still, the Lady Knights never stopped fighting.
“We know how it feels to lose, and doing it again didn’t feel great,” said Morgan, whose Lady Knights lost in the state championship last season to Stratford. “But the fact that everybody played through and kept trying to score even when we had a minute left really means something to me.”
Joslin left the field questioning the officials. But there was no questioning his girls’ determination.
“I’ve never seen so much heart and so much passion in a performance,” he said. “We talked about heart and passion before the game, and I asked them to leave everything on the field. I asked them to win 11 1-v-1 battles, and I think there were 11 very good 1-v-1 battles all over the field. I am heartbroken for the girls. Absolutely heartbroken.”
During halftime, Joslin made a switch in the goal, putting eighth-grader Leslie Sosby in the net and moving Lane to forward. Sosby made several key saves late in the second half, and Lane — easily the tallest player on the field — caused the Augusta Prep defense some trouble with her height, but the scoring opportunities were few and far between after halftime.
“Jordan made such a sacrifice for us this year to go in the goal and come off the field,” Joslin said. “She has done a great job for us this year, but we felt in a tight game like that, that maybe it would help us to make a switch at keeper and give Jordan a chance in the field.”