Haley Wingender waited four years to see Bishop Gorman’s girls soccer team win a championship.
The senior forward didn’t want to wait any longer.
Wingender assisted on the opening goal less than 10 minutes into the match and also scored twice in the first half to help the Gaels cruise past Green Valley 4-0 on Thursday in the Class 4A Southern Nevada title match at Faith Lutheran.
“We had to get it done,” Wingender said. “All four years, we’ve been close, and we deserved it (this year).”
Gorman, which won its first Southern Nevada title since 2001, scored three goals in the first 16 minutes to take control. In the ninth minute, Wingender chipped a perfect cross into the box for Charlotte Brascia, whose header gave the Gaels (17-3-2) all the offense they needed.
“I knew it was mine. I just put my head down and (put the ball) in,” Brascia said. “We’re not the same team (from Tuesday). We wanted to be better than we were. We wanted it more.”
Brascia scored her second goal two minutes later, redirecting Kaila Brinkman’s corner kick.
Wingender got on the score sheet in the 16th minute as she blitzed around a defender to the right corner of the 18-yard box and blasted a shot just inside the far post.
“We knew that Tuesday we didn’t come out strong, and we got lucky,” Wingender said, referring to a 1-0 win over Centennial in the Sunset Region final. “So we knew today we had to come out strong, and we had to win it. We haven’t won in more than 10 years, and we had to finish it before we left.”
Wingender, who signed with Northern Arizona, closed the scoring for the Gaels seven minutes before halftime, blasting a 19-yard free kick that brushed off the fingers of Green Valley goalkeeper Nicole Dunn.
“I’ll be shocked if a player with more desire, more skill and better finishing comes through this school again,” Gorman coach Doug Borgel said of Wingender. “She’s a once-a-generation kind of player. It was her absolute fear of losing that motivated her to play. She wasn’t going to let us lose today. She’s a great leader.”
As impressive as the Gaels’ offense was, the defense also put on a show.
Goalkeepers Angelica Pawlowski and Sam Higgins combined to earn the shutout, but center backs Isabella Sorrentino and Allie Arguello made the work easier.
The duo held defending Southern Nevada champion Green Valley (21-4-3) without a first-half shot on goal, and the Gators didn’t get a shot off until the 20th minute, when Jordyn Penniman’s shot from distance went wide.
“She’s a senior. She wasn’t going to sit out,” Borgel said of Arguello, who missed most of the postseason with injuries. “She begged to get on the field at the end; they all wanted to be there.”
Green Valley’s Alex Adams found space down the right sideline with seven minutes remaining, but reserve keeper Higgins made a diving save.
“We beat a very good team in the final,” Borgel said. “Green Valley is a great champion, a great team. But I think we surprised them a bit and caught them a little off guard, and that was the difference.”