Cougars top the Li­ons in over­time Fall­ston strikes early in ex­tras to reach state tour­ney fifth straight year

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

Fall­ston 3 Queen Anne’s 2

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Cougars didn’t waste any time ap­ply­ing pres­sure in over­time Wed­nes­day evening at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege.

Work­ing the right wing, they sent a cen­ter­ing pass into the goal area 30 sec­onds into the 10-minute over­time, which was suc­cess­fully de­fended by Queen Anne’s County. Thir ty sec­onds after that, they earned a cor­ner kick at the right arc, also de­fended by the Li­ons.

With 7 min­utes, 19 sec­onds re­main­ing, fresh­man Gabby Boyd sent the ball into the goal area again from the right wing. This time sopho­more Kayla Streett un­loaded on the ball, send­ing it high into the right side of the net, and Fall­ston High’s girls’ soc­cer team cel­e­brated its fifth straight Class 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship with a 3-2 vic­tory.

Kennedy Men­doza and Macey Bog­dan also scored in Fall­ston’s win. It was the Cougars third straight win over Queen Anne’s in the re­gion fi­nal.

“It was a great game. It was prob­a­bly the best game we’ve played all sea­son, build­ing a lead like that,” Cougars head coach Car­lie Chat­ter­ton said. “Queen Anne’s is a team of mo­men­tum so they were able to come back. I knew our girls had the heart to fin­ish it. They know this road isn’t

easy. We’ve been down it five times in a row now.”

“I give Fall­ston a lot of credit. They’re a very good team,” Li­ons head coach Mike Kern said. “I’m very proud of our girls for the fight, the grit they gave to­day. They worked hard. To go down two goals and to come back like we did. I think we dom­i­nated the last 25, 30 min­utes of the se­cond half. We pos­sessed it well and won the 50-50 balls and kept the ball short, which is a key for us, some­thing we didn’t do well the first half.”

Fall­ston (12-5-1) ad­vances to the state semi­fi­nals Satur­day at River Hill High School. The Cougars will face the West Re­gion cham­pion, ei­ther Oak­dale or Walk­ersville.

With back-and-forth ac­tion through­out the game, Fall­ston held a slight edge in pos­ses­sion time and took a 1-0 lead in the first half on Men­doza’s goal. Bodgan tal­lied with 23:58 re­main­ing in the se­cond half for a 2-0 led, but the Li­ons con­trolled play dur­ing the re­main­der of reg­u­la­tion to rally for a 2-2 tie.

Kiwi Wed­dell scored on a penalty kick with 18:56 to go in reg­u­la­tion and Abby Blan­chard tal­lied off an as­sist from Ri­ley Napier with 4:16 re­main­ing.

Men­doza, a fresh­man with speed and stamina, pro­duced scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties through­out the first half. She was de­nied by Queen Anne’s de­fense and goal­tender Bre­anna Athey ex­cept for a close-range shot off a cor­ner kick to open the scor­ing with 7:23

left in the first half.

“I thought we did a good job of keep­ing her out of harm’s way for the most part,” Kern said. “She did cre­ate a lot, but I think we did a good job of negat­ing her speed. I will say we were told [in a scout­ing re­port] not to give them any cor­ner kicks; they’re very dan­ger­ous in cor­ner kicks. … I thought we did a pretty good job but we gave them way too many chances.”

Fall­ston cre­ated 12 cor­ner-kick op­por­tu­ni­ties to pres­sure the Li­ons’ de­fense and fin­ished with 16 shots. Athey fin­ished with 10 saves while her coun­ter­part Jil­lian Craw­ford stopped six shots.

After four shots in the first half, Queen Anne’s (12-3) mus­tered eight more in the se­cond. The Li­ons did not earn a cor­ner kick.

In the first half, Fall­ston’s Me­gan Stam­baugh sent a cor­ner kick from the right arc into a large group of at­tack­ers and de­fend­ers. The the ball bounced free to Men­doza, who banged in a right-footer from five yards out to make it 1-0. Bog­dan pushed the ball ahead of de­fend­ers, cross­ing the goal area from left to right, and kicked the ball just in­side the far post to make it 2-0.

In the se­cond half, Napier was taken down in the penalty box after a give-andgo with Wed­dell. Wed­dell right-footed a roller into the right side of the net on the PK to cut the Cougars lead to 2-1. Blan­chard col­lected a pass from Napier on a break and cre­ated space from a de­fender. Us­ing her as a screen, Blan­chard sent the ball just in­side the right post to tie the game.

Nei­ther team had an­other shot the re­main­der of reg­u­la­tion. The Cougars then pounced in over­time.

“We are fa­mous for over­time games,” Chat­ter­ton said. “We had an 11-round shootout with them last year. We went into over­time our last game, and we find our­selves in over­time a lot dur­ing the sea­son, so I just tell them this is when it pays of f.”

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Queen Anne’s County High’s Kiwi Wed­dell (3) and Fall­ston’s Kayla Streett (14) make a play on the ball Wed­nes­day evening dur­ing the Class 2A East Re­gion fi­nal at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege.

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