WAYNESBORO >> On a beautiful Friday evening the Dover girls soccer team arrived in Waynesboro for a District 3 Class AAA play-in game against the Waynesboro Maidens.
The Maidens (12-4-2) were seeded 16th while the Eagles (11-2-3) came in as the 17th seed. The similar records suggested that the game could be a close contest, and that's exactly how it ended up.
The Eagles, overcoming a two-goal deficit at the half, ultimately won the game 3-2, edging the Maidens 4-1 in penalty kicks after two quarters of scoreless yet exhilarating overtime play.
Dover will play No. 1 seed Cumberland Valley in a first-round game Tuesday.
"Waynesboro came out strong with two quick goals and we were chasing the game," Eagles coach Bret Altimore said. "It took us a while, but when we got the equalizer the game evened out and I thought we started doing what we wanted to do."
The Maidens dominated the first half in all aspects, playing the majority of the time on the Eagles' side of the field. Dover were stifled by Waynesboro's defense – it mustered only one shot on goal in the half while allowing the Maidens to launch seven on goal.
Waynesboro capitalized on those shots, getting the ball into the back of the net twice. The first came on a well-placed shot by junior Cat Weber. She collected a rebound after a save by the Eagle keeper Tori Wantz and sent the ball into the net.
The second goal came right before the half on a beautiful cross from freshman Skylar Lambert to senior Katie Clawson and the Maidens went into the half with a two-goal lead.
"I thought the first half was just a phenomenal effort, execution with passing and pressure, and I felt like we took their best player out of the game completely," said Waynesboro coach Brian Fisher.
But the second half was a completely different story as the Eagles gathered themselves and went on the attack. Senior Brooke Firestone picked up a goal eight minutes into the half and re-ignited the Eagles offense.
Dover turned it around, taking eight shots on goal and holding Waynesboro to only one. The Eagles' second goal came with four minutes remaining in the game and the Maidens on their heels. Sophomore Libby McKeever completed the comeback and tied the game, stunning the Waynesboro home crowd.
The overtime periods saw neither team truly dominate. The teams exchanged close calls and miraculous saves, which resulted in two scoreless periods and a penalty kick shootout for the win.
The Eagles came out on top in the shootout thanks to a strong performance by Wantz, who succeeded in stopping two of the Maidens' kicks while watching her teammates make all four that they attempted. Payton Miller, Maddy Miller, Cierra Malehorn and Firestone connected for Dover, and Monica Beck hit the only one for Waynesboro.
Altimore said, "Right there I just tell them, 'Just give it your best shot. Don't worry about missing, just don't hold back. Go out and have fun and live in the moment.'"
Fisher was proud of the way his team played, even though they came up a little short.
"This is the best group of girls I've associated with," he said. "Just incredible. They work hard, they're positive, and they love each other. They were a great bunch."
Dover 3, Waynesboro 2, PKs
First half — (W) Cat Weber, 31st min., (W) Katie Clawson, asst. Skylar Lambert, 39th.
Second half — (D) Brooke Firestone, 48th, (D) Libby McKeever, 76th.
Penalty kicks — (D) Payton Miller, Maddy Miller, Cierra Malehorn, Firestone, (W) Monica Beck.
Shots — Dov 13, Way 10; Corner kicks — Dov 3, Way 4; Saves — Dov 8 (Tori Wantz), Way 11 (Taylor Welty).