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Leopards fall in second OT

November 18, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

CATONSVILLE, Md. - Apparently the Poolesville girls soccer team doesn't like to share.

With Smithsburg seemingly on the verge of adding another piece of the state-title puzzle to its trophy case Friday night at University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the Falcons snatched the whole thing for themselves.

Three minutes and 31 seconds into the second sudden-death overtime period, Poolesville's Anna Treado found Erin Moore's corner kick through a sea of players and slipped it just inside the right post to lift the Falcons to a 1-0 victory for their first Maryland Class 1A crown.

"There was nothing anybody could do," said Leopards goalkeeper Candace Stanford, who finished with nine saves. "We tried to get it out, but it just slipped into the corner."

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"It just came through a maze of people, and (Treado) just happened to be at the right place at the right time," said Leopards coach Bill Fowkes, whose squad ends its season at 14-5. "It took an unfortunate bounce, but that's what happens. That's sports for you. You win some, and you lose some."

And sometimes you tie, as Smithsburg did against Loch Raven in last year's 0-0 state final when the teams were declared co-champions (State finals end after two overtime periods without penalty-kick shootouts).

With the game still scoreless after the regulation 80 minutes and then the 10-minute, first-overtime period, Friday night's final had all the makings for another split championship.

Both teams had difficulty executing on offense, with countless passes flying either past or behind would-be receivers, seemingly due to UMBC's lightning-quick artificial turf.

"We knew it was going to be a fast game," said Fowkes. "It was just back and forth and back and forth."

"It was like kickball sometimes. It got frustrating," said Leopards forward Kristen Poffenberger. "We had our chances, and they had theirs. They just capitalized on theirs, and unfortunately it was in sudden-death."

Smithsburg, outshot 15-9, seemed to have its best chances in the final minute of the first half. Poffenberger took a corner kick from Stephanie Smith and shot it just over the goal, and then moments later unleashed a 10-yarder from the right side that Falcons keeper Sarah Furr (five saves) stopped at the near post.

While momentum remained at a premium, Poolesville maintained most of it the rest of the way, outshooting the Leopards 11-4 after the half.

But the Leopards defense held tough.

"Our defense did a great job," said Fowkes. "I'm extremely proud of the girls. They worked hard and played as a team, and without that, we wouldn't have been able to come back here and defend our title."

And Smithsburg wanted the whole thing this time.

"We were sitting there thinking we don't want to be co-champions again," said Leopards midfielder Lisa Belella. "But being co-champs now seems better than not having it at all. It was a tough game, but a real state championship game."

"I'm still really proud because no one thought we would get this far," said Leopards senior Lacy Howard. "We're the second-best team in the state."

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