MPSSAA Soccer State Finals Day 2
Perry Hall won their first boys soccer state championship by beating Meade 1-0 in the 4A final. Connor Gwin fired home the winning goal with 4:18 remaining in the first half. The Gators had to play the final 24 minutes of the game down a man after star midfielder Colin Weyant was sent off after accruing two yellow cards.
"One of the things we say is that no one ever promised that it would be easy," head coach Pete Eibner said.
The first half was played at a frenetic pace, as both teams tried to push the tempo to catch the opposing defenses off guard. The first real chance of the game came 10 minutes in, when Weyant fired a free kick and forced a save from Mustang goalkeeper Danny Castillo. Gwin kept up Perry Hall's pressure a minute later when he shot from outside the box and forced Castillo into a diving, one handed save.
Meade countered with pressure of their own, and they almost scored the opening goal off a corner kick with 14:29 remaining in the first half. The ball bounded around in the box, right by the goal line, but no Mustang players could poke it in.
Gwin's goal began with right back Evan Eibner crossing the ball towards the box. Jack Muller got a deft touch onto the ball and it fell to Gwin, who fired a low shot to Castillo's right, which the goalkeeper was unable to keep out.
"Jack had an amazing touch right off his chest and it just fell right to my feet," Gwin said. "Then it was just celebrations."
The second half was also played at a fast pace, with Weyant doing an excellent job of tracking back to prevent a Meade breakaway just three minutes into the period.
Weyant would then get sent off with 24:39 remaining in the game. The Gator defense was called upon numerous times as Meade piled on the pressure. The big highlight for the defense came with 11 minutes left in the game when Aaron Burbridge made an excellent sliding block on a Mustang shot from point blank range that looked goal bound.
"Three people stepped in towards the ball that was crossed in and I knew I had to get in front of it because if I didn't, it would've been an obvious goal," Burbridge said. "I slid across and was lucky to get a touch in."
Meade mustered one more great chance, which came when Sammy Dupuy fired a free kick just over the bar.
Pete Eibner highlighted the play of Gaige Robinson in the midfield as one of the reasons why Perry Hall was able to compete with 10 men. Robinson essentially took on two roles, being both the attacking midfielder and defensive midfielder.
"It might not ever show up on a stat sheet, but that kid pulled us out of the fire a couple of times," Pete Eibner said.
When the final whistle sounded, Perry Hall's players began to celebrate. It's a big moment for a program that has been consistently close to getting a state championship, but hadn't pulled it off until tonight.
"I inherited a heck of a program and a culture that was created by Danny Skelton. When I first got the job, I really didn't want to mess it up," Pete Eibner said. "To achieve this has been pretty special.
Sparrows Point completed the perfect season by beating Patterson Mill 2-0 in the 1A State Final. The team finished 2015 17-0, and won their third straight 1A championship in the process. The Pointers have now won 32 straight games.
"Where do we go from here? It honestly doesn't get better than this," head coach Joe Lambert said. "It's been a fantastic run.
The championship couldn't have gotten off to a better start for the Pointers. In the first minute, midfielder Julie Lynch fired them into the lead with a shot from just outside the box after some excellent passing from the Pointers.
"It was really awesome to have them support me like they did," said Lynch, who is a freshman and was the only new starter this year.
Patterson Mill almost tied the score a minute later off a corner kick, but the shot ended up going over the bar.
Kasie Lambert had two excellent chances to extend Sparrows Point's lead, but couldn't convert. She first fired a left footed shot from outside the box with 8:45 left in the half that forced goalkeeper Mary Claire Cicenia to save it. Lambert was at it again a minute later when she curled a free kick over Patterson Mill's wall of defenders, but Cicenia came up with the save again.
The Huskies best chance of the first half came when Eryn Lloyd displayed some excellent skill on the right side to get away from her defender. Lloyd shot for the far post, forcing Pointers goalkeeper Maidson Anthony into a fine diving save.
"I definitely thought it was going in, and that I had to save it," Anthony said. "I got at least a quarter of my fingertips on it."
Patterson Mill had the first good chance of the second half when a beautiful through ball from the midfield got their forwards in behind the Sparrows Point defense. Anthony did a great of coming off her line to clear the ball and stop the danger.
Jamie Shiflett, who was man marked by Patterson Mill throughout the game, created the next great scoring opportunity when she beat two defenders and set up a shot for Lambert, who's effort was off target.
Sparrows Point came close again with 13:10 left in the game. Lambert swung in a corner kick. Cicenia came to clear it but missed it. The ball fell to Emily Vetri, but the midfielder shot it wide.
The Pointers made it 2-0 with seven minutes to go when Shiflett latched onto a through ball from Vetri and shot it past Cicenia.
It was a big moment for Shiflett, a senior, who has had a great career at Sparrows Point.
"We knew we had to score again because it was too close of a game," said Shifflet.
It's the perfect sending off for Sparrows Point's large senior class. The Pointers 14 seniors will leave behind quite a legacy.
"It's been awesome for four years. My first two years as an assistant, and my final two as the head coach," Lambert said. "I couldn't have asked for a better group of girls."
|November 20th, 2015||By: Wick Eisenberg|