Bull­dogs knock out No. 1 Rams

Baker’s sec­ond­half goal ad­vances NC to sec­tion fi­nal

Times-Record - - Front Page - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

SAL­IS­BURY — A last-sec­ond shot struck the cross­bar on North Caroline High’s goal, and Joe Bild­stein had an im­me­di­ate flash­back.

“Oh, my good­ness,” the Bull­dogs long­time girls’ head soc­cer coach said. “It was just like in our first game here. They took a shot, and it hit the cross­bar, bounced down, and rolled away — and the ref­eree called that a goal. I just knew it was gonna hap­pen again.”

But this time, the Park­side shot clanged off the up­per

part of the cross­bar, and sailed be­hind the net for a goal kick. Be­fore North Caroline keeper Shelby Turner could send the ball down­field, the fi­nal whis­tle sounded, send­ing Bild­stein into the arms of as­sis­tant Joe Ferkler to cel­e­brate a 1-0 vic­tory Mon­day over the topseeded Rams.

“This is my 16th year coach­ing the girls,” Bild­stein said, “and I’ve never beaten Park­side be­fore . ... The girls are re­ally some­thing right now. With that first play­off win (in Thurs­day’s Class 2A East Sec­tion II quar­ter­fi­nals) against Eas­ton, the girls started to be­lieve. And you just gotta keep be­liev­ing.”

The fourth-seeded Bull­dogs (9-5) ad­vance to the Sec­tion II fi­nal against the win­ner of to­day’s Queen Anne’s-Kent Is­land semi­fi­nal. A date and time have yet to be de­ter­mined. If Queen Anne’s wins to­day, it would host the sec­tional fi­nal Thurs­day, since the Kent Is­land-Queen Anne’s foot­ball game is slated for Lions Sta­dium on Fri­day. If Kent Is­land wins, it will host on Fri­day.

Nei­ther of­fense could find much trac­tion in the first half. The Bull­dogs played strong de­fense, lim­it­ing Park­side to four le­git­i­mate shots, two by scor­ing men­ace Leah Vilov. But noth­ing found the net for ei­ther team, in­clud­ing a strong shot by North Caroline’s Pearl Sut­ton off an Aza­lie Haro cross late in the half.

“It was just one of those things, where noth­ing seemed to go in, and we just didn’t fin­ish,” Park­side head coach Chris Jack­son said. “We beat them (3-0) the one time we saw them dur­ing the sea­son, but we just couldn’t seem to fin­ish to­day. Ku­dos to North Caroline. They played a great game. And they made that one goal hold up.”

That one goal came de­spite the stel­lar ef­forts of Rams goalie Miyuki Schoyen, who stopped three of the Bull­dogs’ other four shots on goal.

With 18 min­utes, 28 sec­onds left, Caroline’s Olivia Baker shot as she tried push­ing through traf­fic at the right edge of the penalty box. Schoyen was in good po­si­tion near the left end of the net, but could only watch as the shot car­omed off a team­mate’s player’s foot and rolled un­touched into the goal near the right cor­ner for a 1-0 Bull­dogs lead.

The next 18½ min­utes were “def­i­nitely the long­est all sea­son for me,” Baker said with a laugh. “But the de­fense, they just held up so great, and kept the pres­sure off [goalie] Shelby [Turner]. We wanted this game as much as the one with Eas­ton. I’m just glad we’re able to make it through this and go on to the next one.”

“Those last [18] min­utes took a long time,” said Turner, who picked up two of her seven saves dur­ing that stretch. “But the de­fense has been play­ing just great.”

With two shutouts in as many play­off games — and Mon­day’s com­ing against the top-rated Class 2A team in Mary­land, ac­cord­ing to max­preps.com — Turner was all smiles af­ter­wards.

“It just shows us what we can do when we work to­gether, and we com­mu­ni­cate,” Turner said. “I hope we can keep it go­ing in the next one, whether it’s at Kent Is­land or at Queen Anne’s.”

Park­side had three more sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties to tie in the fi­nal min­utes, in­clud­ing two cor­ner kicks, but both were cleared within a few sec­onds.

As the fi­nal minute ticked off, though, the Rams made their last big push.

Pass­ing the ball or try­ing a shot no fewer than six times as the clock wound down, the Rams kept bounc­ing the ball off North Caroline de­fend­ers, un­til even­tu­ally, one last shot emerged from a small group just out­side the penalty box. Turner went for it, but it sailed just over her reach.

“That shot was a lot like the one in the last game here [Oct. 2],” Turner said, “and when I missed it, for a split sec­ond, I was wor­ried . ... But then, with it hit­ting high, I knew we were OK . ... And then I heard the three whis­tles, and knew we had done it.”

Less than 10 sec­onds later, the three blasts of a ref­eree’s whis­tle started a cel­e­bra­tion on the field and in front of the North Caroline bench. Kylie Phillips, first off the field to greet Bild­stein, leapt into the air as she hugged her coach.

“Like I said, if you be­lieve, you can do it,” Bild­stein said. “They just need to keep be­lievin’.” Notes: Park­side out­shot the Bull­dogs 9-5 . ... Mon­day’s play­off, orig­i­nally slated for Tues­day, was moved up a day to pre­vent a log­jam of games, since Park­side’s boys’ team is also at home in the cur­rent round of play; The Rams host Queen Anne’s County to­day at 3:30 p.m . ... Ac­cord­ing to Park­side ath­letic di­rec­tor Andy Hall, the game was al­most post­poned, due to 2.7 inches of rain which fell Sun­day. The field was made ready, Hall said, only by a mas­sive ef­fort on the part of school staff Mon­day morn­ing, who squeegeed and pumped the wa­ter off the field enough to make it us­able just a few hours be­fore play was set to be­gin.

PHOTO BY DAVID INSLEY

North Caroline’s Kylie Phillips leaps into the arms of head coach Joe Bild­stein fol­low­ing Mon­day’s 1-0 win over Park­side.

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