Weyand’s overtime goal lifts Patriots past Braves in 3A South playoffs
If the Northern Patriots girls soccer team thought about how its Class 3A South Region playoff game against the visiting Chopticon Braves would unfold prior to the game’s start, the vision most likely would have included the teams shaking hands after 80 minutes with the Patriots successfully moving on to the next round.
Instead, after the 80 minutes of regula-
tion had expired, Northern went back to its sideline with work still to be done and the fortunes of both teams still hanging in the balance. Nearing the end of the subsequent 10-minute overtime period, the Patriots finally freed itself of the drama when Abby Weyand slipped that elusive goal into the net to lift the hosts to 1-0 victory in the sectional semifinal.
Northern (12-1 overall), the second seed in the section, advanced to play in the section final at top-seeded Huntingtown on Thursday night. The winner competes in the 3A South Region championship on Tuesday.
“We all were talking about how we needed to calm down,” Weyand said of the team’s conversation prior to the start of overtime. “[Chopticon] didn’t have too many good opportunities, but we were not able to finish any of ours.
Their goalie [Taylor Longworth] played really well, too. At the end of [regulation] we were just like, ‘ We need to calm down.’ ... Then we got that goal and it was the best feeling.”
Having had no shortage of opportunities through the game, Northern finally cracked through in the final minute of the first overtime period off of a corner kick when Weyand was able to corral the loose ball in front of the goal and successfully push it into the net to earn the Patriots their spot in the next round.
“It was a corner and Kathryn Lawless had a shot,” Weyand said of the scoring sequence. “It bounced off one of the defenders and Rachel Deresky had a shot and then I just hit it with the outside of my foot into the goal. I was just in the right place off Rachel’s shot.”
Chopticon (6-7), which was seeded third in Section II of the region, may not have blistered Northern goalkeeper Kaitlyn Parks with shots throughout Tuesday night’s game, but the Braves refused to allow the Patriots easy passage to the next round and pushed them into a dangerous overtime situation.
“Chopticon is tough,” Northern head coach John Battle said. “We won 2-0 in the regular season. They just packed it in and we have a hard time penetrating them. My hat’s off to them. They’re a tough team. We had to do every ounce of work tonight to get through this.”
Though the night ended in defeat, the final result was relatively satisfying to Chopticon head coach Bill Summers. The Braves’ past encounters with Northern, long one of the top programs in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference, had typically not been so competitive. But this season, and especially on Tuesday night, Chopticon gave the Patriots everything they could handle.
“We pushed them right to the end. This was, by far, one of the best games we’ve ever played against Northern,” Summers aid. “During the season we lost 2-0. Usually it’s [more lopsided], but tonight they knew they had a chance. They came out and gave 100 percent. I had quite a few injuries on the bench, but I brought up a couple freshmen from JV. They stood their ground, they played all the way to the end and I couldn’t have asked for a better season. They were phenomenal.”
Northern advanced to play county rival Huntingtown, which defeated fourth-seeded Great Mills 13-0 on Tuesday night. Either Huntingtown or Northern has won the 3A South Region every year since 2005, with Huntingtown the defending region champ. The Hurricanes defeat- ed Northern in penalty kicks in last year’s section final and ultimately finished as the 3A state runners-up.
Huntingtown also prevailed in the teams’ regular season meeting this year on Oct. 2, defeating Northern 1-0 in overtime. Weyand was hopeful that the Patriots would be able to flip that result in this year’s postseason clash.
“They’re the only team we’ve lost to,” she said. “We’re all just kind of preparing for that and hoping we can win. Last year they beat us in penalty kicks in the playoffs.”
Northern’s girls soccer team is all smiles after Abby Weyand’s overtime goal lifted the team to a 1-0 win over the visiting Chopticon Braves in their 3A South Region Section II semifinal game on Tuesday night.