Massie and co. hurtle past Randolph, onto championship bid


Massie prepare for PK (photo by Russell Dearing).

Russell Dearing, Staff Writer

Homewood’s girls varsity will play in its fourth state championship match in as many seasons after they brushed past Randolph 6-1 on Thursday on the back of Maddie Massie’s first-half two goals and assist. 

The Patriots will have a chance to go back to back winners on Saturday against Montgomery Academy. The program won its first state title in 2019 and its second last year after losing in the final in 2021 after the 2020 season was cancelled due to Covid-19.

Thursday, however, the Patriots sprinted out of the gates, keeping the ball entirely on Randolph’s side of the field for the first 10 minutes and never looked back.

Massie spearheaded the assault, tallying multiple shots on goal to keep the pressure on the Raiders. 

She finally struck gold in the 14’ when she received a cross from fellow captain Mary Siena McBride. Massie, with her back to the goal, turned her body to the left, muscling the defender on her hip out of the way, and shot it straight past the goalie giving Homewood a 1-0 lead. 

On a later counterattack, Massie fed the ball to freshman Ryan Ezekiel, who delivered her pass neatly into the goal, extending the Patriot’s lead to 2-0. 

Not long after, Massie found herself making Raider defenders miss left and right before being tripped up inside the 18-yard box and awarding herself a penalty kick.

She found the back of the net once more, bringing the score to 3-0, 22 minutes into the quarterfinal match.

Maddie Massie dispatches a penalty kick in the first half. (photo by Russell Dearing).

Both teams then held steady for the rest of the half, with the score remaining the same at the end of the period. 

Head coach Sean McBride emphasized during halftime that his players had to remain focused and dialed in because “the job wasn’t done,” his message all year whenever Homewood was leading. 

“We have to keep up the determination. We have to keep up the aggression,” he said. “The difference in the second half won’t be the refs, or the weather. The difference is going to be us.”

After a severe weather emergency that delayed play momentarily, the match resumed very differently from the first half. 

The Raiders had clued in that the end of their season was likely on the horizon, and they attacked with a newfound sense of urgency and aggression. 

However, Mary McBride obtained control of a stray ball and took off down the middle of the field, leaving Homewood and Randolph players alike in the dust. She made one move to her right to avoid the keeper’s last-ditch effort at a save, and sent the ball into the goal, growing the Patriot lead to 4-0 in the 41’.

Still maintaining the intensity and pressure, now with the momentum clearly back in their favor, Annie McBride sent a free kick outside the 18-yard box past everyone in the 53’, sneaking into the bottom right corner of the goal, bringing the score count to 5-0.

Earlier in the second half, Sara Elliot missed a header that almost surely would have been another goal. That being said, it did not take her long to redeem herself.

In the 65’ Elliot positioned herself in the perfect spot to receive a shot off the crossbar and chest it in for Homewood’s sixth and final goal. 

Senior Sunny Ferren splits Raider defenders (photo by Russell Dearing).

The Raiders did manage a late consolation goal to make sure they did not leave Huntsville entirely empty handed.

After clinching her second consecutive state championship appearance, the reigning championship MVP Massie could not convey enough how thankful she was. 

“I just feel so blessed that I have this team by my side,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing to have the opportunity to go back to a state championship.”

Coach McBride shared his captain’s sentiment, as he explained how he too is thankful for “how focused and centered the girls are. They’ve done everything that myself and our other coaches have asked them to do,” he said.

He added that he loves “that even if someone goes out there for five minutes or one minute, they’re doing exactly what we need them to do.”

“It doesn’t matter what the score is,  they play the game like it’s still 0-0 and that’s the attitude they have to have.”

Massie further echoed her coach’s season-long message, underscoring that “it’s not over yet, and that’s what we’ve been saying this entire time. We’re happy about this, but we’re not satisfied.” 

“I always tell the kids that it’s easier to win a state championship than to defend it,” McBride agreed.

The girls varsity team celebrates its victory with fans (photo by Russell Dearing).

To their doubters all season, Massie said that “it took us a while to reach [championship level] for sure, but I think a lot of it was just ignoring the outside noise and just believing in ourselves that we could do it.”

The girls will take the field for the final time Saturday morning at 9 a.m.  for the state title.