QA’s edges NC on se­cond-half goal by Napier

Times-Record - - SPORTS - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — They’ve have been here be­fore, and knew the stakes.

Queen Anne’s County High’s girls’ soc­cer hosted North Caro­line in the Class 2A East Sec­tion II fi­nal for a se­cond straight year Fri­day Nov. 2, the se­quel pro­duc­ing an­other thrilling, ten­sion-filled con­test.

And like last year, the Li­ons de­feated the Bull­dogs, this time by a 4-3 mar­gin to ad­vance to the 2A East Re­gion cham­pi­onship.

Queen Anne’s sopho­more Ri­ley Napier scored two goals, in­clud­ing the game-win­ner mid­way through the se­cond half to put the Li­ons up two goals.

“Ri­ley has done very, very well for us this year,” said Queen Anne’s head coach Mike Kern, whose 12-2 team will host Fall­ston for a third straight year on Tues­day for the re­gion ti­tle, 5 p.m. Tues­day. “She comes up big in big games. She did that to­day. That is why she is a great player.

“I was proud of our girls,” Kern added. “They kept fight­ing hard. It was a tough en­vi­ron­ment, but they played through it.”

North Caro­line (10-5) never gave up while trail­ing for much of the match. The Bull­dogs twice tied the game, and faced a two-goal deficit with 17 min­utes to play.

Pearl Sut­ton scored off a Tanya Haro free kick to cut the lead in half with 11 min­utes to play. North Caro­line con­tin­ued push­ing and cre­at­ing

chances. With two min­utes left, Corinne Webb bat­tled in the goal box and forced a Lion de­fender to kick the ball out to play for a Bull­dog cor­ner kick. Haro de­liv­ered a high sail­ing ball from the right cor­ner. Sut­ton leaped through the crowded box and sent a header into the back of the net for what ap­peared to be the ty­ing goal.

But of­fi­cials ruled Haro’s cor­ner crossed the goal line, and a ball can­not be played if it trav­els out of play. The call nul­li­fied the would-be ty­ing score. Queen Anne’s gained pos­ses­sion and ran out the re­main­ing sec­onds.

“Tanya gave us a great chance to tie the game,” North Caro­line head coach Joe Bild­stein said. “To win games like this, you have to play on the edge be­cause you are play­ing great teams. We wanted that goal of course. Pearl puts a header in the net but it is not go­ing to count. The girls know they had a win­ning per­for­mance to­day.

“I thought last year we had it against Queen Anne’s, but just missed,” Bild­stein con­tin­ued. “I thought we had it this year. Yes, it hurts. But the girls are re­silient. They have faced so much ad­ver­sity, but al­ways come out fight­ing.

“God bless our six se­niors,” he said. “They built a great pro­gram. They are great lead­ers. They are great play­ers. I wanted this for them.”

From the start, North Caro­line con­trolled tempo by pen­e­trat­ing deep into Lion ter­ri­tory. But Queen Anne’s goal­keeper Bre­anna Athey de­nied sev­eral scor­ing chances.

“We play a very aggressive high line,” Kern said. “Brea does a great job com­ing out. She is a great ath­lete. She played a great game.”

Queen Anne’s took a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute when Napier streaked down right wing and de­liv­ered a rocket into the top cor­ner of the net.

Haro an­swered al­most im­me­di­ately, re­ceiv­ing the kick­off and send­ing a shot down field that hopped past Athey and into the net for a 1-1 tie.

Queen Anne’s re­gained the lead in the 32nd minute when Shyanne Sey­mour dished to Abby Blan­chard, who tucked a shot in­side left post for a 2-1 lead.

Bild­stein preached a pos­i­tive half­time mes­sage, telling his team to con­tinue play­ing the way it played in the first half, and good things would hap­pen.

The Bull­dogs nearly tied the score in the 43rd minute when Webb sailed a cross from right wing to the foot of Alexa Law­ton along the left cor­ner of the goal box. Athey chal­lenged and watched as the shot went wide.

A minute later, Law­ton led a rush down left wing and dished to a streak­ing Hai­ley Chester, who scored to even the game at 2-2.

“We are a fam­ily,” Bild­stein said. “It doesn’t mat­ter what the score­board says to me, these girls are win­ners. They are win­ners in ev­ery­thing, from be­ing kids with great char­ac­ter to be­ing great soc­cer play­ers. I just want them to know they are fam­ily for life com­ing through this pro­gram.

“To come from what we did in the Kent Is­land game to this is mag­i­cal,” Bild­stein said, re­fer­ring to Wed­nes­day night’s shootout vic­tor y over the top-seeded Buc­ca­neers. “It has been a great sea­son. These girls had a mag­i­cal year. I’m so proud of them.”

The Li­ons got the lead back in the 54th minute. Napier led a rush down right wing, and fired a shot off the post. The ball ric­o­cheted di­rectly to fresh­man Ryleigh Jor­dan, who knocked in the go-ahead goal for a 3-2 Li­ons lead.

“Ryleigh was in the right place at the right time,” Kern said. “She put it home. I’m proud of her com­ing big like that. There is a lot of pres­sure for a fresh­man but she han­dles it well. She is a tough kid. She works hard.”

Napier added her se­cond goal four min­utes later to put Queen Anne’s up 4-2. The Li­ons were able to with­stand the Bull­dogs’ fi­nal push.

“North Caro­line came in ready to play us, and played us well,” Kern said. “Con­grat­u­la­tion to them on a great year. Joe is a good coach, and has a good coach­ing staff. They gave us ev­ery­thing they could.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Tanya Haro scored a goal against Queen Anne’s Fri­day, Nov. 2, to the Class 2A East Sec­tion II fi­nal.

PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Alexa Law­ton gains pos­ses­sion against Queen Anne’s Fri­day, Nov. 2, to the Class 2A East Sec­tion II fi­nal.

North Caro­line’s Kylie Phillips drives the ball down the field against Queen Anne’s Fri­day, Nov. 2, to the Class 2A East Sec­tion II fi­nal.

North Caro­line’s Re­becca Gib­bons gains pos­ses­sion against Queen Anne’s Fri­day, Nov. 2, to the Class 2A East Sec­tion II fi­nal.

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