WEST CHESTER -- The Dover girls' soccer season came to an end Tuesday night with a 5-1 loss to Downingtown East in the first round of the PIAA Class AAA state playoffs.
It didn't take Downingtown East (18-3) long to dispatch of the Eagles (21-2), who were making the program's first-ever appearance in the state tournament.
Downingtown East senior standout Linnea Faccenda, a recruit of NCAA Division I Duquesne University, scored four of her five goals in the first 18:32 of action to give her team a 4-1 lead at intermission. Faccenda entered the game with 35 goals on the year.
"We knew she (Faccenda) was gonna be tough," Dover coach Bret Altimore said. "This is the first time we played four (defenders) back. And we did that because of her. And she still did what she did. So you gotta give her so much credit. What an amazing player."
The Eagles' lone score before intermission came on a Maxine Herman goal at the 32:21 mark to tie it, 1-1. Herman, one of four Dover seniors, finished her career with 92 goals and 71 assists, Altimore said.
The lopsided score is a bit deceiving, though. Dover controlled possession for much of the game. Downingtown East, the District 2 runner-up, and the Eagles were even in shots on goal (6-6) while Dover had the edge in overall shots (11-9).
"I know this sounds funny. We lost 5-1 but I'm proud of our girls," Altimore said. "Our girls played a fabulous game. We out-shot the team. We put one in the net. It's not a big deal. It is what it is. We came up against a great player."
Downingtown East got most of its scores by dropping in long passes behind Dover's defense and letting it up to Faccenda to finish the job. Dover went to double- and triple-teams on Faccenda after she scored her second goal, but it didn't make much difference.
Despite the loss, Dover still made history in many respects this season, winning the program's first York-Adams League Division II title, second league tournament title and making its first appearance in the District 3-AAA semifinals, where it lost to eventual district champ Cumberland Valley. The Eagles were a perfect 21-0 before dropping their final two games.
"It was a great ride," Altimore said. "I'm so proud of what they accomplished. They set so many records for the school. This is the furthest any (Dover) team has ever gone."
-- Reach John Walk at firstname.lastname@example.org.