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Leopards race past Mounties

November 04, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Individual talent runs deep through the Smithsburg girls soccer roster.

With senior Shannon Fowkes off her normal game of scoring goals and leading the Leopards, it was three players from the youth brigade who propelled Smithsburg to a 2-0 victory over Beall on Thursday night in the Maryland Class 1A West semifinals.

Sophomore keeper Kirsten Cacciola kept Beall off the scoreboard with eight saves, while sophomore Shelby Layman and junior Katie Seifarth scored first-half goals as the Leopards moved into the regional finals on Tuesday night against tonight's Boonsboro-Fort Hill winner in quest of their fifth consecutive region championship.

"It's exciting to be out there, but there is a lot of pressure," said Cacciola, who shares time with senior keeper Reilly Burrus. "I'm always nervous out there. I got a lot of help from my defenders emotionally and physically. It if weren't for them, I wouldn't look as good."

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Cacciola weathered a barrage of five shots in the opening 25 minutes of the second half when Beall (11-3-1) tried to take momentum away from Smithsburg (14-1-1) by intensifying its offensive effort.

"(Kirsten) has a lot of athletic confidence," said Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes. "She has quickness with her hands and feet."

While Cacciola was mostly responsible for keeping a goose egg on Beall's side of the scorebo ard, credit also went to two other juniors - midfielders Carly Jones and Cara Jordan.

"They both played great defensive games. ... I think each one of them probably ran two miles over the field," said Bill Fowkes.

Smithsburg tortured Beall from the outset with pressure.

Five minutes into the fray, Layman was embroiled in a battle with Beall's Lauren Kasecamp in front of the goal, fighting for ball control. Layman managed to get the ball off Kasecamp's foot and knock in a shot from 8 yards past Beall keeper Jenna Delaney for a 1-0 lead.

The Mountaineers were fortunate not to fall behind by more over the next 22 minutes. Fowkes missed two shots on breakaways that were wide to the right, and another shot from 15 yards. Layman and Chelsea Hoover were both stymied when Delaney made excellent saves.

Smithsburg finally made it 2-0 in the 29th minute when Seifarth headed in a corner kick from Jordan, putting the ball into the net past a leaping Delaney.

"Overall we didn't have our 'A' game in terms of scoring," said Fowkes. "We were aggressive in the beginning of the game but we just couldn't gets the shots to go in."

Smithsburg put 21 shots on goal with Delaney making 10 saves for Beall.

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