La Plata girls defeat Westlake
Warriors start both halves quickly to move on in 2A South playoffs
After watching their boys team battle through 100 minutes of scoreless play against Calvert before finally prevailing in an extended penalty kick shootout, members of the La Plata High School girls soccer team wanted to make sure they started quickly against visiting Westlake on Tuesday to avoid a similar, dramatic fate.
La Plata (8-6 overall) got one goal in the first three minutes of play from junior Kaitlyn Fitz- simmons and another in the opening minute of the second half from junior Julia Simpson and the Warriors added a late tally from senior Sophie Blouin to forge a 3-0 victory over the Wolverines in a Class 2A South Region Section I semifinal.
The Warriors, the sec- ond seed in Section I, will travel to top-seeded Calvert to play in the sec- tion final at 6 p.m. Friday to face a Cavaliers team that has gotten the bet- ter of them in two sim- ilar, dramatic contests. Calvert defeated La Plata, 3-2, in double overtime on Sept. 6, the Cavaliers eliminated the Warriors from the 2A South Region tournament with another overtime victory last fall.
“We wanted to come out tonight and show that we’re ready for Calvert,” Simpson said. “We had two really good games with them. They beat us in overtime this year and last year in the playoffs. We have to come out strong. We really wanted to win tonight so that we could get another chance to beat Calvert on Friday.”
In stark contrast to the boys game that preceded it on the same field, the girls contest had considerably less drama.
“[Head] coach [Kevin Barry] talked to us before the game about get- ting off to a fast start,” said Fitzsimmons, who also plays lacrosse for the school in the spring. “I thought we came out strong and we controlled play from the start. It was only 1-0 at halftime, but I think we felt like we were in control of the game.”
Fitzsimmons had scored the lone goal of the first half, but the Warriors dominated play and kept Wolverines senior goalkeeper Makayla Price busy throughout. Simpson, who took the corner kicks for La Plata from the right corner, had three genuine scoring chances in the first half only to watch those shots end just wide of the target or in Price’s hands.
But in the opening minute of the second half, Simpson wasted little time giving the Warriors a 2-0 lead when her shot eluded Price and car- omed off the right post and into the net. Her goal gave the Warriors a cushion and some much needed breathing room and virtually eliminated any chance the girls game would mirror the boys contest in terms of dura- tion or drama.
“We were only up 1-0 at halftime, so we wanted to start the second half quickly,” Simpson said. “I think watching the boys game got us really pumped up. That game was so dramatic. We watched the last hour of the game from just behind the bench and when the boys finally won that just gave us more motivation to come out fast and win.”
Westlake had few good chances against La Plata goalkeeper Mackenzie Higdon, who recorded one save. Junior Jordan Davis and senior Victoria Roddy displayed plenty of dribbling skills throughout the contest, but the Warriors midfielders controlled most of the play and the fullbacks prevent- ed the Wolverines from getting too many good scoring chances.
“I have to commend my girls for the way they played tonight,” Westlake second-year head coach Kaitlyn Kobe said. The third-seeded Wolverines finish 6-8. “The last time played them they beat us 6-0 and tonight we held them to three goals and two of them were just lucky shots. My girls really played their hearts out. My seniors gave me everything they had both years. I could not be happier with the effort.”
La Plata High School’s Kaitlyn Fitzsimmons heads upfield in the second half of Tuesday’s contest against Westlake. Fitzsimmons scored the Warriors’ lone goal in the first half as La Plata eventually prevailed 3-0 over the Wolverines in the 2A South Region section semifinal clash.