Something happened at Washington High School Thursday that hadn’t happened since May 17, 2012 - a Demon defeat of Southeast Conference foe Fairfield in girls soccer.
During that time, the Trojans had outscored Washington 73-5 in 12 matches.
The win over Fairfield in 2012 was the fifth victory of that year for the Demons against eight losses. They finished 6-9.
The Demons came into Thursday’s match with four consecutive wins this season and the 4-1 victory was the fifth win of the year, fifth consecutive against a single loss.
“It feels really good to beat Fairfield because they are a big rival,” said Washington junior Halle Leyden, who had a hat trick in the match.
It looked like it could happen when Washington took a 1-0 lead when Halle Leyden gathered Trina Griffin’s miss on the ball and sent it in for the goal with 10 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first half.
“On the first goal, I just had to back up Trina,” Leyden said.
It looked like it might not happen when Emily McAvan stole Washington’s opening possession of the second half and drove the ball into the net with just 18 seconds elapsed to tie the match at 1-1.
“When we scored, I think it was just because we caught them off guard,” Fairfield coach Brittany Winslow said. “I don’t think they were ready for it. It was kind of funky because this field is really short and narrow. It seems like our girls were just on top of each other and they did not know where to go. We talked about that at half time. Our center mid just kept getting congested end it was almost like our defense just looked at each other and said who’s going to get it. We were trying to push those girls to the outside to keep them contained.”
WHS coach Protacio Marcelino was not sure what happened on the Trojans score.
“This was our third game in four days so I don’t know if they were too tired or what happened,” he said.
The score woke up the Demons.
“Once they scored I felt like I had to step up my game,” Leyden said. “I got scared when they scored right at the beginning, but that was good because it made me want to work harder.”
Marcelino was happy with how they responded after Fairfield tied the game.
“We are getting there,” Marcelino said. “We have to always play like the score is 0-0.”
Things were looking better for Washington when Abbygail Voss centered it to Leyden, who sent a shot in from outside the box that curved into the right corner of the net for a 2-1 lead with 27:39 remaining in the match.
“It curved in, but that’s just kind of how it happened,” Leyden said. “I didn’t try to curve it, but I’m glad it did.”
It looked like history could happen when Leyden sent a corner kick to defender Narely Torrijos, who booted the ball in from 25 yards out for a 3-1 lead with 18:20 remaining.
“Me and Trina used to do that one, but today we tried it with Narely and it worked,” Leyden said. “It actually worked out pretty well.”
“Narely is my defender because she is fast and I know she can get back so that’s why I feel OK to bring her up whenever I need her,” Marcelino said. “I just kind of sneaked her in. This is soccer and that’s what we do in soccer. You have to do whatever you can to score.”
Leyden clinched the historic match when she stole the ball and scored from 20 yards out, making it 4-1 with 8:35 to go.
The team and its play are vastly different from past seasons and Leyden knows why.
“Our coach is good and works us really hard,” she said.
Leyden is the third Demon to score a hat trick in a match this season. Greta Rothe and Trina Griffin were the other two.
The coach employed some strategy to free up Leyden for her goals.
“I think it was our switching,” Marcelino said. “I knew they would go after Trina because she is always scoring. So I told them to switch because they were pressuring her. I think it worked out.”
Fairfield’s coach was impressed. Monday she saw her team lose at Mt. Pleasant on penalty kicks.
“I have to give some props to Washington,” Winslow said. “They are doing super well this year. They have some good ball handling. They have some good shooters and they do a good job getting it to them. I am interested to see how they play against Mt. Pleasant. I think Washington and Mt. Pleasant both seem to be the top runners right now.”
The Demons host the Panthers Monday Apr. 22.
Washington is 2-0 in the league and has a nonconference match at Mediapolis Monday, then hosts Ft. Madison Thursday.
Fairfield is 2-2, 1-2 in the SEC.