North­ern sur­vives

Weyand’s over­time goal lifts Pa­tri­ots past Braves in 3A South play­offs

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

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.”

PHOTO BY STEPHEN PARKS

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.

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