WALKERSVILLE — Allyssa Grunwald’s primary job as a senior defender and occasional midfielder for the Linganore girls soccer team is to make sure she is in the right spot.
That’s where she was Tuesday night, and she wound up scoring the game-winning goal in the visiting Lancers’ 3-2 overtime win.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God. I just did that!’” said Grunwald, who rarely gets the opportunity to score a goal. The game-winner was the first of her varsity career. “I was, like, freaking out. Then, everyone came over and hugged me. I felt the rush.”
Grunwald scored with 6 minutes, 45 seconds to play in overtime in a game the Lancers (2-0) otherwise dominated. They were a bit unlucky over the course of regulation as they watched multiple shots glance off the crossbar. On a couple of other occasions, they simply missed the open net.
Walkersville (0-2), on the other hand, was very economical with its scoring chances. The Lions scored on their first shot of each half, the first one coming with 3:18 left in the first half. They generated just seven shots in the game, compared to 20 for Linganore, and all but one of the Walkersville shots were on goal.
“You have to give them credit,” Linganore co-head coach Mark Lastova said of the Lions. “They were very aggressive. They played well beating us to the ball. So hats off to them for that.”
Walkersville did well to hang around for as long as it did. But, in overtime, it gave Linganore one chance too many.
Senior midfielder Josie Beezel sent a free kick into the box. It flew over the head of junior striker Mandy Hill, who went up to try and head it in. But, there, waiting for it at the far post — right where she needed to be — was Grunwald.
“I just threw my body into it, honestly,” she said of her winning goal.
Linganore refers to these scenarios as trash. If the intended connection misfires, who will be there to potentially knock in a loose ball or, in the teams’ parlance, clean up the trash?
Grunwald prides herself on being the one to fill this role, even though it had never resulted in a varsity goal until Tuesday. She believes she previously scored one when she played for the junior-varsity team. But that’s the extent of her high-school scoring ledger. She is often playing on the back line, trying to prevent the other team from scoring.
“Pretty much, if everyone misses it, I am like, ‘OK, guys. I got this. Don’t worry,’” Grunwald said of her role in the trash situations.
Linganore actually trailed 2-1 with 30 minutes left in the game after Walkersville sophomore Samantha McDonough went around her defender on a long run and kicked the ball into the open net.
“She is probably our best athlete,” Walkersville coach Paul Bryan said of McDonough. “She is not a soccer player, per se. But you wouldn’t know. She works very hard. She does everything right. She keeps the ball close to her when she is dribbling. She is very technical for just an all-around athlete. She is very dangerous for us.”
Walkersville’s other goal was scored by senior captain Claire Smith in the closing minutes of the first half. Her chance was generated off a corner kick.
Linganore, meanwhile, received a goal by Hill just over 13 minutes into the first half, and then got a game-tying goal from senior midfielder Gemma Davies with 19:06 left in the game off a perfect feed from sophomore striker Ava Taylor.
“I think they are a great bunch,” Linganore co-head coach Paige Pohopin said of her team. “Watching them play together is incredible. They are not cliquey at all. They all come together. They are a lot of fun. They work well together.”