Lions’ run ends in East fi­nal

QA’s held with­out a shot on goal by Fall­ston

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

Fall­ston 4 — Queen Anne’s 0

CENTREVILLE — Mid­way through this sea­son, Fall­ston High girls’ head soc­cer coach Mark Han­nahs moved se­nior Meaghan Mo­ran to stop­per.

No one has scored on the Cougars since.

Queen Anne’s County learned just how stingy Fall­ston’s de­fense can be Tues­day night, as the de­fend­ing state cham­pi­ons held the Lions with­out a shot on goal dur­ing a dom­i­nat­ing 4-0 vic­tory in the Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship.

“It’s weird,” Han­nahs said. “As I coach all these girls, some­times it takes me five or six games to fig­ure out a set lineup. And she (Mo­ran) was play­ing out­side mid­field and I said, ‘You know, we’re still weak at the stop­per po­si­tion, and I know she can play D’. So I said, ‘Let’s just give it a whirl.’ So we put her at stop­per, moved an­other per­son out­side, and it ac­tu­ally worked very nice. It was just a hunch. Ev­ery once in a while it works.”

It cer­tainly worked again against the Lions (13-3), who booted a few stray balls into Fall­ston’s end, and car­ried down the side­lines a cou­ple times, but never built any threats from the mid­field, earned a cor­ner kick, or put a shot on start­ing keeper Emily Rhine­hart or backup Is­abelle Newkirk.

“We just couldn’t possess to string a cou­ple of passes to­gether,” Queen Anne’s head coach Mike Kern said.

In a bid to limit Fall­ston (14-3) of­fen­sively, Queen Anne’s played a 4-5-1 for­ma­tion. Though the Cougars earned a hand­ful of throw-ins from in­side the 15, three cor­ner kicks, and tested Lions keeper Emma Hill (14 saves), it only car­ried a 1-0 lead into the half, when Lo­gan Ward put away a bounc­ing ball off a cor­ner kick in the 14th minute.

“We came out, kind of loaded the box,” Kern said. “I thought de­fen­sively we played pretty well. They’re fast, they’re phys­i­cal, they

use the body well, and they shield the ball very well. And they’re hard to de­fend.

“We did some re­search on them and knew they were good on set plays,” Kern said. “First goal was a cor­ner kick. And when you have a cou­ple of kids who can throw the ball into the mid­dle of the box it’s hard to de­fend. And we knew that com­ing in; just couldn’t over­come it.”

Though it held a 1-0 half- time lead, Han­nahs was con­fi­dent his team would break through for more.

“We ex­pect to be here,” said Han­nahs, whose team will push for a third con­sec­u­tive state fi­nal ap­pear­ance when it meets River Hill ei­ther Fri­day or Satur­day in a state semi­fi­nal. “We just have a con­fi­dence it seems when we get into these tour­na­ments that we refuse to lose. We’ve been here be­fore. We just kept pound­ing and pound­ing. It was only 1-0 at half­time, but I told them we should be up 3-0 or 4-0. That’s the con­fi­dence that we have.”

Fall­ston pres­sured the Lions de­fense from the open­ing sec­ond-half tap, and with 2:12 elapsed, Sydney Crofton passed to Maria Gen­tile, who lofted a high arc­ing chip to­ward the left post that fell just be­hind a leap­ing Hill for a 2-0 lead.

“Sec­ond goal kind of hurts us,” Kern said. “We held them to 1-0 at half, and I was pretty pleased with our per­for­mance at that point; and hope­fully we can still get a break here or there and push up a lit­tle bit. But once they got that sec­ond goal we were in trou­ble.”

About six min­utes later, Hill made an ini­tial stop on a hard drive, but couldn’t get to the re­bound be­fore Kas­sidy Web­ster slammed in the Cougars’ third goal.

Fall­ston con­tin­ued to con­trol play and with 20:40 re­main­ing, Al­i­cyn Lose made a run down right wing and an­gled a low, hard shot that eluded Hill’s lunge and found the left cor­ner of the net for a 4-0 bulge.

The Cougars, who to­taled 28 shots, con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate the mid­field and keep play in the Queen Anne’s end, with Han­nahs pulling his starters with 10 min­utes re­main­ing.

“We have a re­ally strong team and we’re re­ally ready to come out this year and get all the way to states and re­peat,” Mo­ran said. “And we all know we can do it.”

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Queen Anne’s Mea­gan Luke­hart (14) strikes a header dur­ing the sec­ond half of Tues­day night’s Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship against Fall­ston.

Queen Anne’s Abby Folker (5) tries to beat Fall­ston’s Maria Gen­tile to a 50-50 ball dur­ing the first half of Tues­day night’s Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship.

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