Greens Farms Academy is a PreK-12, coed school in Westport, CT

Depsite Loss, History Repeats Itself for Dragons Girls Soccer Team

John Nash

The ball left Lauren Lior’s foot and started its fate-infused trajectory, headed toward its destiny.

Everybody in attendance at Greenwich Academy back on October 21 undoubtedly had the same sense of emotion as the ball flew in its picturesque arc, reaching its apex and starting its approach toward the back of the goal and a sure-fire berth in Friday’s FAA Girls Soccer championship game.

It didn’t matter if you were a GFA Dragon supporter or a Gator fan, history was repeating itself in front of everybody’s eyes.

On that Thursday afternoon in October, after the GFA girls soccer team made the trip to Greenwich Academy for a huge regular season FAA showdown with the Gators, Lior had scored a goal and assisted on another in the game’s final four minutes as the Dragons pulled out a 2-1 win over their shell-shocked hosts.

Nobody could really remember the last time GFA bested Greenwich Academy on a soccer pitch. Was it 12 years? Longer?

Everybody knew on Wednesday when GA showed up to play GFA in Westport in an FAA semifinal.

Everybody remembered Lior’s game-winning goal from 20 days prior.

Which is why as the ball approached the goal, as history was repeating itself in front of everybody’s eyes, everybody suffered a sense of déjà vu all over again.

Just one problem.

On this date, fate’s game plan came out of a different playbook.

On this date, Greenwich Academy’s goalie jumped a little bit higher, extended her arm a little further, stretched those fingers just an iota enough to tip the ball over the crossbar and out of play as the final seconds kept ticking off the clock.

Sure, GFA had one more corner kick opportunity, but as the ball trickled wide of the goal post, the Gators were able to kill off the final 15 seconds of play to send the game into penalty kicks.

From there, the Gators made three, the Dragons made one,  and it was Greenwich Academy headed to the league championship game, not GFA.

Destiny denied.

While history will be kind to Wednesday’s FAA semifinal, which no doubt will go down as one of the most thrilling league playoff games in a while, it was heart-breaking for the Dragons, who left it all out on the field under the toughest of circumstances.

Consider: GFA came into the season as a “young team” and by the time Wednesday’s semifinals kicked off, two of its five seniors were out with injuries.

A third—a four-year-starter and defensive stalwart who is easily the heart and soul of the squad—was injured during the overtime, left the field and never returned.

The Dragons best player—record-setting, high-scoring freshman Sofia Atehortua—was bumped and pushed and hip-checked every time she touched the ball; many of which went uncalled, including a huge no-call in the first overtime where GFA could have gotten a free kick just outside the box.

Over the course of the 100 minutes of play, balls slid just inches past their intended marks, be they crosses toward the middle or shots toward the post.

Sometimes the most skilled and tactical teams don’t come away victorious, but instead are instilled with the life-lessons that will also go down in history.

Every player not graduating from GFA this spring will remember walking off the field with that feeling of a 0-0 (3-1 PK) loss, leaving the Dragons one game shy of its last Revenge Tour stop.

And for the five players who will call it a career after next week’s New England tournament—Lane Murphy, Shealeigh Crombie, Emma Smith, Andie Morelli and Katie Gabriele—the heart-break will slowly melt away and morph into the positive memories of a 16-3-2 (and it’s not over yet) season that few thought ,possible in the heat of the August sun.

History could have repeated itself on this November Wednesday afternoon and in a way it had.

Thanks to those five seniors, and every other player on its roster, GFA Girls Varsity Soccer—which hasn’t won a league crown since 2005--had proven it was once again back as one of the top of the team’s in the Fairchester Athletic Association.

And the rest of the league knows it.

Next year’s Revenge Tour 2022 will make sure of it.