Season ends for La Plata girls soccer
Pope’s OT goal sends Calvert to 2A South final
Calvert and La Plata added another chapter to the two teams’ developing girls soccer rivalry following the Cavaliers’ 2-1 overtime win over the visiting Warriors in the Class 2A South Section I final on Friday night.
Calvert (10-4 overall), the top seed in Section I, hosted Southern of Anne Arundel County in the regional championship game on Tuesday night. The winner will face the winner of the West bracket’s Century-Damascus game in the state semifinals, which are scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at River Hill High School in Howard County.
“I’m really happy,” said Calvert freshman Claire Williams, who scored the game-tying goal in the 68th minute. “We needed to pick it up and push through. We were doing well, we just needed to finish our chances.”
Calvert first-year head coach John Baker said he was “A bit relieved, [there’s] a lot of adrena- line. My girls I couldn’t be happier with them.”
The game was another chapter in a growing rivalry between the two teams, though Calvert has won the past three meetings between the two, all in extra time. The Cavaliers claimed a 3-2 double overtime win on Sept. 6 and eliminated the Warriors in penalty kicks in last year’s playoffs.
“La Plata’s a great team and I think we’re devel- oping quite a nice rivalry with them,” Baker said. “They really play tough soccer with us; it’s a good matchup.”
And it was Anita Pope who gave Calvert another win in the series. Calle Garneau raced down the left side and sent a looping shot on goal that glanced off the fingers of La Plata goalkeeper Mackenzie Higdon. Pope raced in from the right side and jammed the ball home in the short side.
“I just saw the ball and kept going [because] I wanted to finish my run,” Pope said. “I expected it to go in at first or she’d save it, but when I saw her deflect it I just had to finish it. I was also surprised it wasn’t offsides.”
“The ball came in quick and she made the initial save and couldn’t hang onto it,” La Plata head coach Kevin Barry said. “As a keeper, opportuni- ties happen, but Macken- zie made some solid saves [throughout the game]. She really stood tall, but you get some unfortunate bounces sometimes, and that was one of those.”
La Plata senior midfielder Taryn Ging said, “I think we played a great game. We came out here confident, we knew what we wanted to accomplish, but it was just an unlucky goal. I think this was one of the best games we’ve ever played.”
La Plata (8-7), the sec- tion’s second seed, opened the scoring when Mck- enna Simpson’s long free kick found the back of the net in the 31st minute.
Calvert swarmed the La Plata zone with multiple scoring chances before getting the tying goal.
“We changed our formation and because of that we sacrificed a little of our offensive attack, but we knew they were a talented team,” Barry said. “They have proven that they can put the ball in the goal, so we wanted to prepare for it, so we took one of our leading goalscorers and put her in a defensive position. They may have been in our zone, but we felt really good about limiting what they were able to do, and we frustrated them at times.”
Williams tied the score when she outmuscled a de- fender for the ball and then sent a long, arcing shot into the top left corner.
“Honestly I didn’t know if it was going to go in or not,” Williams said.
The loss was the third over the past four games for La Plata following a six-game winning streak during which it outscored the opposition 32-4.
“We had some really positive moments and as a team coming into play- offs we struggled a little bit, but we showed out here tonight what our potential is and we can play with anybody,” Barry said. “Even though our record wasn’t like other teams in SMAC I was confident every time we stepped on the field that we could hang and play with anybody, regardless of the situation. I’m proud of what this team was able to accomplish this year.”
“I wasn’t even expect- ing us to be as great as we were,” said La Plata senior Sophie Blouin, who will major in sports management in college. “I’m so happy we were a strong team togeth- er. This is my favorite team I’ve ever been on.”
The Cavaliers have won their last two games and six of their last eight, including three by shutout.
“Going down a goal we talked at halftime and switched our formation so we could keep the ball a little more and it really gave us an advantage,” Baker said. “The girls were asked to play dif- ferent positions and they took advantage of it. It’s exciting moving forward and watching these kids grow all season.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 first-half lead and then hung on to double up the visiting Cougars in the Class 2A South Sectional I final on Friday.
The top-seeded Warriors faced Southern on Monday and claimed the region title with a 1-0 victory.
La Plata, which had drubbed the Cougars 7-0 on Sept. 23, has won two straight and 11 of their past 12 games.
Issac Ekobo scored both goals for the Cougars, and had scored eight goals over the past three games.
The Cougars (8-9) came into the game on a seven-game win streak.
Stone head coach Tom Parker said the match was a “very intense game with a lot of quality soccer played between two determined teams” and that it reminded him of the Thomas Stone-La Plata rivalry games of the past.”