WOODBRIDGE — In two regular-season meetings this year, the Northern Virginia Majestics and Hampton Roads Piranhas combined to score 14 goals. So when the Majestics jumped out to a one-goal lead in Tuesday night’s playoff action, Hampton Roads had no reason to panic.
The Piranhas, regular-season W-League leaders in goals, broke free for a 3-2 win in a first-round postseason match at Forest Park High School. Australian National Team member Kele Golebiowski scored the first goal for Hampton Roads, which eventually went ahead by two goals as Jenna Szyluk and Elizabeth McGrall also scored.
For the Majestics, this was their first playoff appearance in the franchise’s four-year existence. Adjoa Bayor scored a goal in the ninth minute (just before Hampton Roads tied the match in the 10th minute) and Jennifer Farina added an 83rd-minute goal, but Northern Virginia was unable to get the equalizer.
“I think there were more technicians on this team — people who were more comfortable with the ball,” Majestics’ coach Hank Leung said. “We were in every game we played, which was really satisfying.”
After a 4-0 loss at Hampton Roads in May, the Majestics beat the same team 7-3 at Forest Park in June. In the rematch, the Piranhas played 8-on-11 soccer for a quarter of the game because three players were either red-carded once or yellow-carded twice.
Hampton Roads’ offensive punch worked well with the W-League scoring system, as it picked up a bonus point (for scoring three or more goals) in nine of its 14 regular-season matches. The Piranhas entered the postseason with an 8-5-1 record, while Atlantic Division rival Northern Virginia was 9-5. Hampton Roads will play at Kansas City in a quarterfinal match on Friday.
Of the Majestics’ two goals and two assists Tuesday night, all but one goal came from their contingent from Ghana. Basilea Amoah-Tetteh assisted on Bayor’s goal and Elizabeth Baidu set up Farina’s goal. The Majestics featured four players from Ghana this year, including two who play for their national team.
The W-League also includes a few up-and-coming young players from the U.S. national program. Forest Park rising junior Kim Bonilla, a 16-year-old, played the entire second half for the Majestics on Tuesday night.
“I played about a half every game — Coach says I’m his insurance policy,” Bonilla said. “Playing with World Cup players from Ghana and against players from Australia and other countries was just incredible. I remember watching these players on TV, and now I’m on their team. It was great just to see the competition at this level.”