The Final Five
Paige. Age 13, Pennsylvania

Time was quickly running out. It was 0-0 with less than five minutes left in the Pennsylvania Girls Soccer division championship game. Sweat dripping, everyone on the field was exhausted. Each and every player had to dig deep inside of herself to find the strength and determination to finish the game strong. This game, one of the most important games of my life, couldn’t end in a tie, so both teams played for only one reason: to win.

As the tedious ticking of the clock went on, it was still 0-0. The team that wanted it more would end up winning this game. The ball went back and forth on the field like a ping pong game until… number six on the other team took a fast, piercing low shot. Jumping towards the ball, our goalie reached out to grab the ball but it was out of her reach. Every Rush player, and all of the coaches and parents, felt like we just lost the game by that one mistake. As I watched the ball penetrate through the grass, mocking me by its every spin, going closer and closer to the goal line with great speed, I knew I couldn’t let that ball enter the net. I ran. Sprinting as fast as I could, SWOOSH! I slid. I felt my back and my knee hit the ground powerfully. Now skin was being shredded off leaving blood and turf in its place. My foot cut through the air towards the ball. The ball was now inching toward the goal line. I held my breath as my foot met the ball’s sleek surface. Toes stretching out, I kicked the ball and saved the goal. The crowd went berserk. My teammates ran up to me like a stampede. I felt my whole team huddling around me. It was the best feeling in the world.

Immediately after my whole team got a sudden spark of wild energy. We passed the ball flawlessly. As we neared the goal, we took the shot. The ball spiralled to the upper 90 of the net. We watched the goalie leap off the ground to retrieve the ball, but she couldn’t reach it. Silence was upon us. I thought to myself this shot HAD to go in. It was our last chance. The ball flew past the goalie and into the net with a satisfying SWOOSH! The crowd broke the silence. Hearing the mellifluous ending whistle was music to my ears. The cheering, laughing, and shouting were louder than the Super Bowl. All of our hard work and determination had paid off. PA Rush had now won the PAGS 1 Division Championship.

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