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Top-seeded Hubs upset in overtime

November 03, 2003|by JACK HILL III

For 80 minutes Saturday evening, the top-seeded North Hagerstown Hubs and the fourth-seeded Liberty Lions battled at School Stadium with nothing being decided in the Class 2A West girls soccer semifinal match.

Then, just as overtime got underway, the Hubs' once-overwhelmingly successful season came crashing to a halt.

Liberty put an end to the defensive battle when junior forward Kim Fiorani converted off Brittany Harman's feed 31 seconds into the extra session to eliminate North, 1-0.

North Hagerstown finished its season with a 15-2 record and the right to forever be called the first MVAL Antietam champions. But a regional title and state appearance was not to be.

"I thought that it was a well-played game," North Hagerstown coach Rick Aleshire said. "They got the lucky break at the end and won the game. That is the bottom line. Whoever got the break was going to win it. I think that both teams played pretty even."

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"I think there were two quality teams that played a very competitive game," Liberty coach Lee Kestler said. "Both teams had an equal number of opportunities. This is the first time ever that our kids have ever been in an environment where they have played the No. 1 seed. Our kids came out and played with a lot of heart. They had a lot of fire in their belly."

Kestler had a lot of praise for his defense.

"We tried what we have been successful with on defense," Kestler said. "That is man-to-man and get to the ball first. This is the seventh shutout for my goalkeeper, Katie Hartleib. She has just been phenomenal all year. She is a first-year starter at goalkeeper as a junior. As a team, we have only allowed 15 goals all year. Katie has given up just 13 goals."

Hartlieb finished with seven saves for the Lions. Hubs' senior keeper Alexa Suiter made 10 saves.

"I think North is a quality team," Kestler said. "They have a lot of dangerous players. I can see why they were so successful in the regular season."

The Lions outshot the Hubs by a 20-12 margin.

Even though North Hagerstown was eliminated from the playoffs, Aleshire reflected on what was still a superb season for the Hubs.

"I think the girls had a super year," Aleshire said. "All of the girls have worked tremendously hard all year. The hard work led to the success this year. We won the Antietam Conference championship.

"This 2A West bracket is a tough bracket. This is some of the best soccer in the state of Maryland. I am just proud of the girls' super accomplishments."

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