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Smithsburg defeats Williamsport in SO

September 07, 1999|By DAN SPEARS

SMITHSBURG-As much as Smithsburg sweeper Laura Spessard wanted revenge Friday afternoon in the first round of the first Washington County Tournament, it refused to cooperate with her for the longest time.

But the sophomore, who accidentally headed one into her own net in a 2-0 loss to Williamsport in last year's Class 1A West final, got rid of a few of her demons against the Wildcats, knocking the Leopards' final kick of a penalty shootout past Williamsport keeper Becky Pulieri for a 3-2 win after the game was tied 3-3 in regulation.

"I'm just so happy we won," Spessard said. 'We've been prepping for this game ever since last year...it's one of the most important we'll play all year."

Although it's just the first game of the season, the Leopards attacked like it was the last game of the millennium. Trailing 2-1 at the halftime, Smithsburg unleashed its entire arsenal at Pulieri and the inexperienced Williamsport defense, getting off a whopping 23 shots in the second half.

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But Pulieri frustrated Smithsburg like it was still 1998. The junior, in her first varsity game as a goalkeeper, was spectacular. She denied a header inside the 6-yard box by Morgan Church, gobbled up two slicing balls by Kyley Thompson, then got a little help from the crossbar on Alyson Daughtridge's indirect kick before tacking on two saves in the shootout. Pulieri finished with 18 saves. "She has filled in exceptionally well, especially considering she didn't know she'd even be playing goal until Aug. 15," Williamsport coach John Weimer said. "But they were a little more aggressive in the second half, and their youth up front pushed us back a little." But until Smithsburg's Megan Ball converted on a loose ball in front of the net in the 75th minute, the push almost wasn't enough to overcome Ashley Van Norden's breakaway in the 59th minute that broke a 2-2 tie.

And that set up Spessard's little slice of revenge.

"It's the first game, and you've got nothing but adrenalin."

Smithsburg's coach Richard Daughtridge said, "We played pretty well, but it was real appropriate that Laura got the winning goal."

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