North Point, Northern girls soccer tie, declared co-champions
Patriots and Eagles tie, share conference championship
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.