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Leopards complete drive for five

November 09, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - The Smithsburg girls soccer team winning the Maryland Class 1A West title is like the leaves falling from the trees.

Both happen every autumn.

The Leopards raked in their fifth straight region title Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over Boonsboro. They'll play East champ Colonel Richardson in the state semifinals on either Friday or Saturday at a site and time to be determined.

"It's been a great run. We have 24 kids who all believe in the same goal," Smithsburg coach Bill Fowkes said. "The goal at the beginning of every season is to win the region championship because that's the ticket to states.

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"Tonight, it was just a great team effort. The last five minutes we had to withstand a lot of pressure. We were bending but we didn't break."

Down 2-0, Boonsboro (10-6) found some late life, getting five of its 11 shots and all three of its corner kicks in the final nine minutes. In an effort to prolong her senior season, Sarah Keyser, the Warriors' most prolific player, headed in Jessica Jordan's corner kick in the 72nd minute to make it a 2-1 match.

"Smithsburg's a very well-coached team, and we tried to execute a game plan specifically for their team and their formation," Boonsboro first-year coach Kyle Lingg said. "But we weren't able to do it until late in the game. We just executed too late."

The Leopards (15-1-1), who were held to six shots, had a goal in each half - each scored by a nonstarter. Chelsea Hoover put Smithsburg ahead 1-0 in the 14th minute, scoring off a cross pass from Shannon Fowkes.

"Chelsea Hoover gave us a big lift off the bench," Bill Fowkes said. "She said before she went in, 'Coach, I'm so nervous.' It wasn't two minutes later she had the ball in the back of the net for us."

Katie Seifarth made it 2-0 in the 51st minute, scoring on an assist from Cara Jordan.

"She just tapped it to me and I knew the goal was there," Seifarth said. "I knew we needed it because we were only up one. ... When we score, we get pumped and we just build off each other's energy."

The Leopards had just enough energy left to hold off the Warriors.

"It was a battle," Bill Fowkes said. "That was a tough one and we knew it would be. Kyle Lingg has just done a tremendous job with that program. He has those girls believing. I think we might see a rematch next year."

Kirsten Cacciola had six saves for Smithsburg. Annie Meyers had two saves for Boonsboro.

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