Play­ing for the re­gion

Calvert girls soc­cer sur­vives South­ern in dou­ble over­time

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

As the ball bounced in her gen­eral di­rec­tion on Thurs­day night, Calvert’s Brid­get Har­ris didn’t think about what to try to do with it. All she wanted to do was kick it.

And sec­onds later, with her team mob­bing her, she re­al­ized that her kick put the ball in the net for the what was the only goal in the Cava­liers’ 1-0, dou­ble-over­time win over the vis­it­ing South­ern Bull­dogs of Anne Arun­del County in the Class 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion II fi­nal.

“I saw it come across and I didn’t see any­one go­ing for it, so I just went up and hit it,” Har­ris said. “I didn’t re­ally in­tend to place it any­where. I just kicked it. ... I didn’t be­lieve it was hap­pen­ing. They were all jump­ing on me. I was so over­whelmed.”

The goal came with 4 min­utes 25 sec­onds show­ing on the score­board clock, sav­ing the sec­tion’s top-seeded Cava­liers (15-1 over­all) from hav­ing to po­ten­tially go to a shootout with the third-seeded Eagles (7-5-3).

While the drama wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily some­thing

Calvert head coach John Baker en­joyed, it was some­thing he ex­pected as the teams have made a habit of meet­ing each other in the post­sea­son.

“First off, South­ern is al­ways a big chal­lenge,” he said. “They play a tough reg­u­lar sea­son which al­ways pre­pares them for the play­offs. It seems we’re al­ways here at this point for sev­eral years in a row now, so we knew it was go­ing to be a tough game.

“Our girls, as the game went on, started to set­tle in, I think. We had to make some for­ma­tion changes. We had to be a lit­tle more pa­tient on the ball. We got a lit­tle caught up in the at­mos­phere. Fi­nally, we made one last for­ma­tion shift and our lit­tle fresh­man came in and scored.”

A vet­eran of some of those pre­vi­ous meet­ings, se­nior Cam­ryn Wil­liams con­curred with

her coach’s thoughts on the Bull­dogs.

“South­ern al­ways gives us a good game,” she said. “It’s al­ways su­per-close and they al­ways play su­per-hard. We face them ev­ery year in the play­offs and it’s good to move for­ward. I think we def­i­nitely ral­lied to­gether and played very well and came back and scored.”

Though South­ern did gen­er­ate its share of op­por­tu­ni­ties through­out the game, Calvert de­fender Alex Baker thought the Cava­liers had things pretty well to­gether over­all.

“I felt we held down the back line well, had a strong mid­field, strong for­wards,” she said. “I think we just played our game, over­all.”

The win earned Calvert the op­por­tu­nity to play another fa­mil­iar post­sea­son foe, as the team was sched­uled to travel to River Hill to bat­tle the Hawks for the re­gion crown on Tues­day night.

Calvert’s 2016 sea­son ended with a 2-1 loss to River Hill

in the 2A state cham­pi­onship game. Now in the same re­gion, the teams bat­tled for the right to ad­vance to chase this year’s state ti­tle.

The win­ner ad­vances to Satur­day’s state semi­fi­nals right back at River Hill.

But on Thurs­day night, in the mo­ments fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the win over South­ern, John Baker was re­lieved his team found a way to stay alive for another day.

“We were al­ready start­ing to talk about what we thought was go­ing to be the in­evitable,” he said, think­ing about the po­ten­tial of the game end­ing in a penalty kick shootout. “We’ve been there be­fore with them. Sure enough when we turned around they were work­ing the ball like we had talked about. It was just about hav­ing the pa­tience. They were a lit­tle bit amped up and South­ern is very good de­fen­sively and their keeper [Mad­die Sturgell] is out­stand­ing.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

Calvert’s Sophia Shen­berger plays a ball dur­ing the Cava­liers’ Class 2A South Re­gion play­off game against the vis­it­ing South­ern Bull­dogs on Thurs­day night. Calvert de­feated South­ern 1-0 in dou­ble over­time.

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