Boonsboro ends reign of Leopards

October 31, 2007|By ANDREW MASON

BOONSBORO - "Bring it back to Washington County," Smithsburg's Bill Fowkes told Boonsboro's Kyle Lingg as the two girls soccer coaches exchanged a postgame handshake Tuesday night. "If I was going to lose to somebody, I wanted it to be you guys."

The Leopards' run is over.

After 100 scoreless minutes - 80 in regulation and 20 in overtime - Boonsboro knocked off the two-time defending state champions 4-2 on penalty kicks in the quarterfinals of the Maryland Class 1A West tournament - a tourney Smithsburg had won the previous six straight seasons.

"From the beginning, we knew Smithsburg was the two-time state champion and that the region final had to go through them," said Lingg, whose Warriors (10-4-1) will host Northern Garrett in a region semifinal Friday. "What we had was nine seniors who didn't want their season to end and 11 underclassmen who supported that 110 percent."

The Leopards had ended Boonsboro's season each of the last two years - in the region semifinals last year and in the region finals in 2005.


"All nine seniors have been a part of the last two years, losing to Smithsburg and watching them win the state championship," said Lingg, whose team had also lost its previous two matchups with the Leopards this year. "This year, they decided it wasn't going to happen again."

"We've been waiting for this game for a long time," Boonsboro senior goalkeeper Annie Meyers said.

After making six saves in regulation and one in overtime Tuesday, Meyers had another crucial stop left in her. With her team leading 2-1 on penalty kicks after two rounds, Meyers lunged to her left to stop Chelsea Hoover's shot to begin the third round.

"I just tried to read her eyes," Meyers said.

Jamie Bingamen then made good on her attempt to give Boonsboro a 3-1 advantage after three rounds. After Smithsburg's Danielle Berk cut it to 3-2, Lauren Hensley found the back of the net to seal the win for the Warriors, who eliminated the need for the fifth round with the insurmountable 4-2 advantage.

Hensley said she didn't feel the pressure.

"I just knew I had to make it for the team," she said. "We practice penalty kicks so much, it was just second nature."

Each team had nine shots in the first 100 minutes of action, and the Leopards (11-5-1) finished with a 5-2 edge in corner kicks.

"It was just an awesome, awesome soccer game. The quality of play tonight was excellent," Fowkes said. "I'm not sure that that wasn't the region final, not to put any of the other teams down."

For the first time since 2000, Smithsburg will not appear in the official region final.

"We've had a tremendous run, and these ladies have set the benchmark for all the teams in this county," Fowkes said. "If anyone can repeat these feats, they're going to have an excellent run themselves.

"I feel bad for our seniors, but ... these seniors won two state championships."

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