Shortly after the Marietta High girls' soccer team suffered a 2-1 season-ending setback to visiting Athens High in a sectional tournament opener Monday night, Molly Josefson embraced several of her Lady Tiger teammates on the sideline.
Josefson, a senior exchange student from Sweden, will be missed as all of the MHS senior booters will be.
"It was so much fun," said Josefson, whose host family in Marietta is Jeff and Amy Ferguson. "The team was so nice. I loved it. I had a really good time. I'm going to miss them."
Josefson hails of course from a soccer-playing nation. Over in Europe and in much of the rest of the world, people take the game on the pitch very seriously.
Less than a couple of months ago, Pia Sundhage stepped down from the helm of the Olympic gold-winning U.S. team to coach the Swedish women's squad.
Thing is, if you weren't fortunate enough to see Josefson compete this fall, you really missed it.
All she did in her one season as a Marietta High girls' soccer player was score 21 goals. In her debut as a Lady Tiger booter on Aug. 28, she put an unbelievable six balls into the back of the net in a 6-3 triumph at Dover.
Later in the season, Josefson had a four-goal game in a 5-0 win over Cambridge.
As a striker or forward, she's very swift, she's got foot skills, she's a good finisher, and she has great field vision. She just always seems to know where her teammates are when she services the ball or drops it back.
She's also tough.
During first-half action against Athens, Josefson was literally flattened by a Lady Bulldog defender. But she got right up like nothing happened.
No question about it, Josefson is very worthy of All-Ohio mention.
Josefson certainly had the undivided attention of Athens.
In the first half, the Marietta forward hit the crossbar with a shot, and almost got an open net score, but the ball rolled just wide right.
"We just didn't get lucky," said Marietta head coach Jeff Price, whose team outshot Athens, 24-2.
During second-half action, MHS couldn't shake its bad luck as Josefson hit the post with a shot.
"I was a little bit slow," she said.
But with about five minutes left in the contest, Josefson finally beat the AHS keeper with a shot to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
"She's very good," said Athens coach Sean Cook of Josefson. "That was our biggest key right there.
"I didn't want to put (Brooke Kemerer) on her sooner, because my defense was set. My defense was handling her pretty well, so there was no reason to change the defense. Man-marking is hard, because you're taking somebody else off the ball."
With less than a minute remaining, Josefson was literally "guarded" by Kemerer, probably the Lady Bulldogs' best player. Somehow, though, the Lady Tiger forward got free, and attacked the goal in hopes of getting the equalizer.
Unfortunately, though, Josefson got tripped up on the surge, and the game ended with her sitting on the ground in the penalty area.
"It was frustrating," Josefson said. "We were so close. I think we had the game all the time, but they (Athens) got the goals. It's a shame that we didn't win."
It's also a shame that Josefson won't be back to play for Marietta next season, because she's a joy to watch on the pitch.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at email@example.com