Lions’ run ends in East final
QA’s held without a shot on goal by Fallston
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.”
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.