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Dec. 19, 2017 — Games of the Year, 2017

The 2017 season was a collection of some 35,000 varsity games including league fixtures, cup ties, and playoffs. Here are the 10 that graded out the best when it came to drama, competition, and effect on the rest of the season:

10. Nov. 4, 2017: Shrub Oak Lakeland (N.Y.) 2, Garden City (N.Y.) 1, NYSPHSAA Class B quarterfinal: These two teams have always gone deep in the postseason, and made it all the way to the championship final of Class B between 2014 and 2016. But because of a change in the predetermined bracket for 2017, the teams played one week earlier than and this year at Patchogue-Medford (N.Y.). They still put on a great show. Garden City scored early and for large parts of the game were dominant, but Lakeland got back in it and took the lead in the final five minutes. But the game did not get resolved until four Garden City attempted four penalty corners, the last an untimed corner after the end of regulation

9. Nov. 14, 2017: Andover (Mass.) 1, Wrentham King Philip Regional (Mass.) 0, MIAA Division 1 semifinal: King Philip was seen as a real threat in Division 1 despite the dominance of other regional powerhouses the last two decades. It was Kate Gregory who provided the margin of victory with a 25th-minute penalty stroke

8. Nov. 14, 2017: Downingtown (Pa.) West 3, Emmaus (Pa.) 1, PIAA Class AAA semifinal: Emmaus, winners of the state title the last two years, were denied a third by a good Downingtown West team. Downingtown, a hard-charging and athletic side, took advantage of an Emmaus bench shortened by injury and indoor national team call-ups. Downingtown snapped Emmaus’ 88-game win streak and went onto the state final against Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.)

7. Nov. 18, 2017: Delmar (Del.) 3, Wilmington Tower Hill (Del.) 2, DIAA Division II final: A significant change since last fall saw last year’s finalists make it back to the championship game. Whereas last year’s game was a coming-out party for Delmar, this was a game to gauge how far this program has come. Delmar, like last year, seized the advantage at a point in the game and would not let go. In this case, it was a few minutes on either side of halftime when the Wildcats built a 3-0 lead. Tower Hill, to its credit, came back with a pair of quick goals late but feell just short

6. Nov. 11, 2017: Los Gatos (Calif.) 0, San Jose Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) 0. CIF Central Coast final: It was defense that ruled the day in this CIF sectional title match. For Archbishop Mitty, it was Macy McHale who had an outstanding day holding off Los Gatos and helping to park the bus against the Cats’ pressure. Los Gatos’ overall team defense showed its mastery once again on the day as the team ran its shutout string of games to 18 and became the first team since Watertown (Mass.) in 2014 to go an entire season without conceding a goal

5. Oct. 17, 2017: Millersville Penn Manor (Pa.) 2, Mount Joy Donegal 1, Lancaster-Lebanon League semifinal: These two teams have met each other in the final of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, but the predetermined bracket was altered this year so that the Comets and Indians met earlier than in the final. The Comets came out ready to win, jumping out to a lead in the third minute and holding onto it until the the 50th, when (who else?) Mackenzie Allessie found net for one of her 91 goals this season. However, it was Bri Harsh finishing off an Emma DeBerdine pass to give Penn Manor the win

4. Oct.  7, 2017: Norfolk (Va.) Academy 2, Louisville Assumption (Ky.) 1, Ring of Honor Tournament: The two teams met a year ago and the game was not decided until the final five minutes. It was much the same this year as this interstate matchup was decided by just a goal

3. Oct. 28, 2017: St. Louis Villa Duchesne (Mo.) 1, St. Louis Mary Institute-Country Day School (Mo.) 1 (Villa Duchesne won 2-1 in penalty shootout), Midwest Tournament final: It always happens in tournament play: goalies are often counted on to make huge, game-winning plays. For Villa Duchesne, that player was senior Emma Deines, who withstood shot after shot as the game got tighter. Her denial of Lou Chalfont in the fifth round of the penalty shootout was the difference

2. Nov. 17, 2017: Summit Oak Knoll (N.J.) 2, Voorhees Eastern (N.J.) 1 (OT): NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final: The denoument of this game was eerily similar to last year, in that Oak Knoll would not allow Eastern possession of the ball in overtime. This allowed sophomore Bridget Murphy to latch onto a Gabby Andretta pass, then finish

1. Nov. 14, 2017: Plymouth Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) 1, Mount Joy Donegal 0, PIAA Class AA semifinal: These two sides fought earlier this year in a non-league match, but this was a very much different match. It was a match of former center forwards; Madison Woods, the WVW senior, is the Spartans’ center back. Mackenzie Allessie, who used to be on the forward line for Donegal, has been generating offense from the center of the midfield the last couple of seasons. Woods was the difference, scoring with 3.3 seconds remaining to end Donegal’s reign as PIAA champions

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