MIDDLETOWN — Not even a six-month delay caused by the pandemic kept Tuesday’s girls soccer match between rivals Walkersville and Middletown from being the intense contest it typically turns out to be.
If anything, it may have ramped up the competitiveness.
The Lions and Knights went all out against each other through two regulation halves and a pair of 10-minute overtimes in what ended up being a 2-2 tie in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“Both teams played very, very hard,” said Walkersville senior midfielder Payton Moots, who had both of the Lions’ goal. “Middletown brought it really good tonight, played a good match. We really pressured well at midfield, and that had a really big impact on the game.”
Moots put the Lions (3-5-1) on the scoreboard first, with 23 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first half. She floated a 29-yard direct free kick over the head of Middletown keeper Maggie Perkins into the upper-left corner of the goal.
It’s a kick Moots works on in her free time, out on a soccer field at Heritage Farm Park. “My dad and I got out there a lot, and he retrieves all of my shots,” Moots said.
Her second goal, six minutes into the second half, gave Walkersville a 2-1 lead. She banged in a close-range crossing shot, which bounced off the far-left post and into the corner of the net.
But for every Walkersville goal, Middletown had an answer.
Jade Catlin flipped a corner kick over to Brynn Gentile, who finished with a header into the near-side right corner of Walkersville’s goal with 2:43 left in the first half, tying the match at 1-1.
Catlin later tied the match at 2-2, playing a throughball from Millie Smith, then beating a Walkersville defender on the dribble before banging in a powerful shot from 22 yards away with 11:57 left in regulation.
“It was a great game,” Catlin said.
The Knights have been having issues with converting on corner kicks this season, but Gentle’s finish from Catlin’s corner kick showed Middletown has been getting better on those plays, Catlin said.
“It was so relieving to finally get a corner kick in,” she said.
Both teams had their chances over the rest of regulation, as well as both overtime periods. Catlin had a near-miss on a dribble with five minutes left in the first overtime.
Samantha McDonough had a shot go off the post for Walkersville with five minutes to go in the second overtime.
“We go at it whether the teams are up or down,” Walkersville coach Paul Bryan said of the rivalry. “It’s a dogfight. I wouldn’t expect anything less. I thought Middletown came out really organized. They gave us some problems early. We had to figure some things out. It was a great match.”
Emmy Clarkson had 11 saves for the Lions. Perkins had five saves for Middletown (4-3-2).
“Walkersville came out and was quick to the ball,” Middletown coach Heather Kline said. “They were ready to play, and we just couldn’t quite get that last piece we needed.”