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Knights put end to what they started

November 02, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Middletown vs. North Hagerstown was an open-and-closed case in girls soccer this fall.

The Knights opened their season with a 2-1 victory over North on Sept. 9 and, behind a goal each from Amanda Kinna and Meagan Sheffler, closed out the Hubs' year Monday evening, pitching a 2-0 shutout in a Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinal at School Stadium.

"It's always hard to know that you ended someone's season, but you're always relieved that you didn't end your own," Middletown coach Heather Kline said. "North played a real hard-fought game tonight. It's the kind of game we need to keep us going."

The Knights (9-7) will travel to play the Winters Mill-Fort Hill winner in a semifinal either Friday or Saturday.

Between Middletown's pair of wins over North, the teams' seasons couldn't have gone much differently. The Hubs (12-4) won 10 of 12 games, including a stretch of six straight, on their way to the Washington County title, a share of the MVAL Antietam Conference crown and the No. 2 seed in the 2A West.

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Meanwhile, the Knights, seeded 10th in the region tourney, endured a stretch in which they lost five of six, including four straight.

"That was a tough stretch," Kline said. "We lost four games in overtime in that period, but we just kept coming back with a positive attitude.

"We play a tough schedule, but that's what we want. It just makes us better this time of year."

Middletown was the better team Monday night.

"They've got a good ball club, always have," North coach Rick Aleshire said. "They came wanting to play and win, and we came wanting to play and not lose. You have to play to win. ... It's disappointing."

Middletown went up 1-0 in the 31st minute on a header by Kinna off a corner kick by Sarah Colwell.

"That pumped us up pretty big," Kinna said. "I knew we needed to get another one, though. After Meagan got a goal, I knew we had it."

Sheffler scored in the 23rd minute of the second half, taking a pass from Whitney Boyer and blasting a 20-yarder straight down the middle, just over the reach of North keeper Heather McLeaf.

"I got a pass and I shot, and I was just hoping it wouldn't go over the goal," Sheffler said. "I knew that we were going to win then."

Each team had 10 shots. Rachelle Buhrman and Sarah Hess combined for seven saves for Middletown, while McLeaf had four.

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