Bulldogs knock out No. 1 Rams
Baker’s secondhalf goal advances NC to section final
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  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.
North Caroline’s Kylie Phillips leaps into the arms of head coach Joe Bildstein following Monday’s 1-0 win over Parkside.