COLUMBUS — Alyssa Behrend’s goal for Gates Mills Gilmour Academy with 1:08 remaining in the second overtime period ended an historic Cincinnati Country Day girls’ soccer season with a 2-1 loss Saturday afternoon in the Division III state final at MAPFRE Stadium.
But Indians players weren’t hanging their heads in disappointment as they were awarded their runners-up medals and team trophy. A few tears fell, but more prevalent was a sense of pride in what they had accomplished — especially for the five seniors on the team.
“We’d never made it to the state finals or even the final four for that matter in any girls’ sport, so I think it’s just the legacy of that,” senior keeper Olivia Robinson said.
“On Thursday we got to go through all the divisions of our school like the lower school and the middle school and just to see the little kids and the joy that it brought them, I think it’s just giving them something to look up to. Maybe the next time we’ll get it.”
Robinson, senior defender Deidre Mohan and senior midfielders Olivia Brown and Natalie Choo were all four-year starters and team captains in 2016.
“All four of us, the captains, our leadership just led on from what we saw from other captains in years prior,” Mohan said. “We basically accomplished a lot. We won sectionals four years in a row and then districts, and we went to the regionals. The accomplishments we have are greater than any other years prior, so it’s a big deal. It was a fun year.”
The senior class walked off the field with a 68-11-5 record in four years, according to CCD coach Theresa Hirschauer.
“They’ve been tremendous,” Hirschauer said. “They took the foundation that has always been here, and they took it to another level. We’re really grateful.”
Hirschauer’s 27th season as head coach of the Indians ended one win short of her first state title.
“Like I said after the state semis, it was an historic run,” Hirschauer said. “It was something we talked about the whole last year. It was 27 girls. There is nothing better than high school soccer. High school soccer and representing your community is one of the all-time best things. Every time they stepped on the field, they represented Country Day with class and I thought we did a good job today representing southwest Ohio.”
Behrend scored on a rebound off Robinson’s hands in front of the goal to end it.
“It was just a low shot and I tried to get my hand on it,” Robinson said. “I couldn’t hold on to it. They just finished it. They were there.”
Gilmour Academy and CCD played to a scoreless stalemate in the first half before senior midfielder Alex Siskovic got Gilmour on the board off an assist from sophomore midfielder Annie Greene’s free kick with 23 minutes to play in regulation.
“That was just a ball that was bouncing around,” Robinson said. “They came in off that free kick. That one I didn’t even have a chance to get. I dove for it, but it was just a nicely placed ball.”
CCD freshman forward Kate Brock sent the equalizer into the left corner of the net with 14 minutes to play in regulation and the teams went through one scoreless sudden-victory overtime and nearly a second.
“I just know I played my heart out,” Mohan said. “It’s my last 40 minutes, my last eight minutes, all of it. I just wanted to play hard as I can because I didn’t know if we’d win or not. Just to know that I played as hard as I could, I’ll be happy with that.”
Gilmour held an 8-6 advantage in shots on goal and a 15-11 advantage in shots overall. Robinson made four saves, including three after halftime.
“I’m just trying to keep a cool head, trying to keep my teammates into it, especially at the end of two overtimes when everyone is cramping up,” Robinson said. “I’m just trying to keep everyone in the right mind even though we had multiple girls on and off the field just from injuries and stuff. You’ve just got to keep positive.”
Now 22 underclassmen will have a chance to build further on the foundation these seniors leave behind.
“Every year is different,” Hirschauer said. “You have to be lucky. You have to be lucky to get here. (Gilmour) had to win an overtime game in the sectional finals. You have to be lucky. You have to have things bounce the right way and then you have to come together. Next year will be a different team and we have some young players but it will be different.”