The Rockbridge Academy girls soccer team completed an outstanding season on October 24 with a 3-3 (5-4) penalty-shootout victory over Calverton School in the Metro Independent School Athletic League (MISAL) championship game in Huntingtown.
The MISAL title is the second in a row and second all-time for the Rockbridge girls soccer program.
“[It] was a hard-fought contest where both teams played at a high level and fast pace,” said head coach Lou Schwartz, whose Scots got a brace by Mayowa Taiwo to overcome a deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 and force overtime. Kara Mole scored in the first overtime period for Rockbridge, and after surrenduring an equalizer, the Scots went on to make all five of their penalty kicks to win the title.
Claire Mackes assisted on one of the goals for Rockbridge, which got five saves from goalkeeper Carrie Hulting in the come-from-behind victory.
“All season long, we’ve been a strong second-half team, and we reminded our players of that fact at half time,” said Schwartz.
The program won its first championship last season by defeating Calvert 7-1 after back-to-back appearances in the league final in 2012 and 2013 (both resulted in losses to Calverton).
The Scots followed last year’s 17-3 championship season with an even better year in 2015.
Rockbridge finished the year 14-1-1 overall, winning the MISAL regular-season title with a 9-0 record and notching playoff wins over Kings Christian and Grace Christian prior to the MISAL final victory over Calverton. The Scots outscored the opposition 76-16 in 16 games, combining a league-best offense with a stingy defense.
Much of the Scots’ offensive success was powered by the prolific scoring of Taiwo. The sophomore scored 53 of Rockbridge’s 76 goals, an average of 3.3 goals per game.
“Mayowa Taiwo had an extraordinary season,” said Schwartz. “In addition to being an outstanding athlete, she exemplifies the character we try to teach through athletics at Rockbridge, encouraging her teammates’ efforts at every opportunity.”
Hulting, a senior captain, stepped in to play goalie after having never played the position before, anchoring a stellar defense.
“I am very proud of our defense,” said Schwartz. “Assistant coach Dave Parker did an amazing job working with the back line and the keepers throughout the season, and they really started to peak at the end of the season. Giving up only 16 goals in 16 games is a fantastic accomplishment.”
Having only two seniors and two juniors on the roster, the precocious Scots worked together to reach championship heights once again this season.
“We were a very young team that relied on the contributions of many sophomores and freshmen,” said Schwartz. “The younger players made the most of their opportunities to play critical roles on the team, and the senior captains provided the leadership necessary to guide the team to a successful season.”
With a firm foothold established atop the MISAL—four straight finals appearances and back-to-back championships—the young Scots look poised to continue Rockbridge’s run of success.
The 2015 MISAL champion Rockbridge Academy girls soccer players are Mayowa Taiwo, Kara Mole, Claire Mackes, Caroline Hulting, Sarah Anderson, Emma Feeney, Elyse Griffith, Grace Griffith, Michaela Hughes, Katherine Hulting, Sarah Janvier, Carilyn Matthews, Evangeline Mitchell, Hannah Sweeney, Karoline Trovato, Hannah Walker and Abby Wallen.