North Point, North­ern girls soccer tie, de­clared co-cham­pi­ons

Pa­tri­ots and Ea­gles tie, share con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of Tues­day night’s South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence girls soccer cham­pi­onship game at North­ern, sup­port­ers of the vis­it­ing North Point Ea- gles sang “Happy Birth­day” from the bleach­ers to Ea­gles head coach Kiante Webb. He likely al­ready had got­ten his wish, even if didn’t come in the cus­tom­ary fash­ion.

Af­ter 100 min­utes of ac­tion, the Ea­gles tied the Pa­tri­ots 0-0 in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game, leav­ing the teams as co-cham­pi­ons. North­ern did de­feat North Point 2-0 when the teams met on Sept. 8.

“Great ef­fort by both teams,” Webb said. “They got us the first game, so we came back fully pre­pared. They gave us an­other dog­fight. We knew we were get­ting a dog­fight, and hat’s off to both teams. This was a great birth­day gift and a great way to see both sides play their hearts out.”

North­ern (11-1-1 over­all), which suf­fered its first loss of the sea­son in a non­con­fer­ence con­test with Good Coun­sel of Mont­gomery County on Mon­day, kept alive its score­less streak against SMAC com­pe­ti­tion. The Pa­tri­ots, who fin­ished 6-0 to claim the SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­son, have not al­lowed a goal against an­other SMAC team all sea­son, and al- lowed just five — one in a win against Sev­erna Park and the four against Good Coun­sel — all sea­son.

The Pa­tri­ots came close on sev­eral oc­ca­sions on Tues- day, hit a cou­ple of cross­bars, in­clud­ing one on a Ju­lia Gray shot in the first over­time ses- sion, but were left with a tie. At the con­clu­sion of the sec­ond 10-minute over­time pe­riod, the teams started to get ready to go to penalty kicks only to be in- formed that the game was over and the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship would be shared.

“We were ex­pect­ing to go into PKs and hope­fully pull out the win through that, but over­all we played re­ally well,” said North­ern’s Ashley Harris. “Our com­mu­ni­ca­tion is al­ways good. We

played strong be­cause we re­ally wanted it. We’re re­ally ex­cited to see how the play­offs go.”

Gray thought the Pa­tri­ots gen­er­ated enough op­por­tu­ni­ties, but were not able to do enough to cap­i­tal­ize on those op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I think our com­po­sure on the ball could have been bet­ter, es­pe­cially in the fi­nal third,” she said. “We got into the box a few times and we needed to fin­ish our chances. That’s some­thing we’ll be work­ing on go­ing to­wards the play­offs.”

While the con­fer- ence cham­pi­onship was shared, North­ern took some so­lace in their headto-head win over the Ea- gles when the teams first met.

“I thought it was a re­ally phys­i­cal match,” North­ern’s Brit­taney Ref­fit said of Tues­day night’s con- test. “In the end we still beat them head-to-head. We knew this would be a tough game.”

On the other side, North Point (10-2-1) had plenty to feel good about. Since los­ing to Hunt­ing­town and North­ern back-to­back to open the sea­son, with both losses com­ing by shutout, the Ea­gles have not lost. Tues­day night of­fered the vis­i­tors an op­por­tu­nity for a mea- sure of re­demp­tion.

“We came out and real- ly wanted it be­cause we’d al­ready lost to them previ- ously in the sea­son, so we owed them and we were ready to play,” North Point’s Aimee La­tour said. “Our de­fense was def­i­nitely the strong­est its been all year. We held it down, ev­ery­body, even our midfield and for­wards. We were play­ing re­ally good de­fense and I think that’s what kept us in the game. We had some pretty good chances. We just didn’t cap­i­tal­ize.

“Both teams played re­ally good. I’m proud of them and proud of us and it’s great we can both be cham­pi­ons.”

North Point is the No. 3 seed in Sec­tion II of the 4A South Re­gion and was set to host C.H. Flow­ers of Prince Ge­orge’s County on Thurs­day. A win puts the Ea­gles in the sec­tion semi­fi­nal round Tues­day ver­sus ei­ther sev­enth-seeded Suit­land or sec­ond-seeded Bowie, both of Prince Ge­orge’s. Webb thought his team’s show­ing in the con­fer- ence ti­tle game ex­hib­ited what his team has grown into.

“It shows our char­ac­ter,” he said. “We came a long way. We lost to these guys and Hunt­ing­town the first week of the sea­son and these girls have fought back so hard since then. It just shows who we re­ally are and shows that char­ac­ter we’ve grown into and that one fam­ily, one unit that we try to keep go­ing into these play­offs.”

The top seed in Sec­tion I of the 3A South, North­ern will make its post­sea­son de­but in the sec­tion semi­fi­nals at 5 p.m. Tues­day against the win­ner of a sec­tion quar­ter­fi­nal matchup that had fourth-seeded Great Mills host­ing fifth-seeded St. Charles. North­ern last won the re­gion in 2014, and with seven se­niors — six of whom have played on the var­sity squad since their fresh­man sea­son — the team has big goals for this post­sea­son.

“There’s al­ways room to grow and de­velop as a team and to just keep push­ing,” Gray said. “I think we’re set. We’re set to go into the state semis and we have the men­tal­ity for it.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES The North Point and North­ern girls soccer teams pose with their di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship plaques af­ter play­ing to a score­less tie in the SMAC cham­pi­onship game on Tues­day night at North­ern.

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES North Point goal­keeper Tai­lor Gam­mons scoops up a ball dur­ing the first half of the team’s game at North­ern on Tues­day night. Gam­mons made seven saves as the Ea­gles and Pa­tri­ots played to a 0-0 tie in the SMAC cham­pi­onship game.

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