They admittedly can be nerve-rattling affairs, but Hannah Goodacre enjoys playing in close games.
The senior goalkeeper for the Urbana girls soccer team would rather deal with all of the pressure and stress that comes along with them rather than be bored with nothing to do, as she so often is playing behind the Hawks’ terrific offensive and defensive formations.
“They constantly keep me involved,” Goodacre said of the close games.
On Thursday night, Goodacre was forced to turn back a pair of terrific second-half challenges by Linganore to preserve a 1-0 road win for Urbana in a battle of unbeaten teams.
It marked the fourth consecutive meeting between the longtime Frederick County rivals that ended in Urbana’s favor by the same score.
“Just another one of your typical Ali-Frazier, Urbana-Linganore games,” Hawks coach Chuck Nichols said.
First, Goodacre came out just far enough without getting herself out of position and shut down the angle on a hard, rising shot by Linganore senior striker Haley Barge, one of the leading scorers in Frederick County, with 25 minutes left in the game.
The save was reminiscent of a block that Goodacre would make when she was on a volleyball court. She played volleyball for Urbana before joining the soccer team at the start of last season.
Then, with 4 minutes, 10 seconds to play in an increasingly tense game, Goodacre came out on another challenge and hurried Linganore’s Fiona Rowan just enough. Her shot dribbled just wide of the post.
“I am in constant communication with my defense,” Goodacre said. “I feel we have definitely done a good job of containing everyone we have faced so far.”
On this particular occasion, the Urbana offense did just enough to allow the defense to secure another win. The reigning Class 3A champions from a season ago are now 9-0-1 this season with only one goal allowed over the 10 games.
Sophomore striker Brianna Skidmore capitalized on a defensive breakdown by Linganore with a little more than 14 minutes to play in the first half and scored her seventh goal of the season to provide the winning margin. Senior midfielder Caitlin Shepherd was credited with the assist.
“I thought we played great,” Linganore coach Howie Putterman said. “They are an awesome team. They deserved to win. But I thought my girls hung right with him. I am so proud of them. They scored their only goal on a miscommunication on our part. It shouldn’t have happened.”
In a week that saw Urbana senior striker and University of Tennessee recruit Abbey Burdette set the school record for assists in one season (34), Goodacre is quickly approaching the school record for career shutouts.
Thursday’s victory marked the 24th of her career in 30 career high-school starts, bringing her within three-and-a-half of the school record.
Goodacre has been trying to stay as engaged as possible this season. For starters, she is playing behind an entirely new defensive line. She is also trying to play the ball more with her feet this season to keep her skills sharp and to stay involved.
“She comes up big when she needs to,” Nichols said. “That is what all good goalkeepers do.”