Playing for the region
Calvert girls soccer survives Southern in double overtime
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.”
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.