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Falcons end Hubs' reign

November 11, 2009|By ANDREW MASON

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    HAGERSTOWN -- For the North Hagerstown girls soccer team, perhaps the only thing worse than losing in the Maryland Class 2A West final was watching Winters Mill celebrate as the new region champion Tuesday night at Mike Callas Stadium.

    "Yeah, it's tough," North coach Rick Aleshire said. "But it's what you play for. You're either going to be a winner or you're going to be a loser."

    The second-seeded Falcons defeated the top-seeded and defending-champion Hubs 2-1 to capture their first region title in program history, while earning a spot in Friday's state semifinals.

    "I'm going to sleep with this thing," said Winters Mill coach Andy Hicks, holding the winners' plaque. "My wife's sleeping on the couch tonight."

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Last season, North cruised to a 4-1 victory over Winters Mill in the 2A West quarterfinals on its way to winning its first region title in program history.

"This was a little revenge for last year," Hicks said.

The Falcons (11-3-1) outshot the Hubs 23-7 Tuesday and had a 9-1 advantage in corner kicks.

"They definitely moved the ball better than we did," Aleshire said. "They controlled the midfield and we didn't. They just kept coming at us and coming at us."

The Hubs (14-2-1) were held to only one shot in the first half. But it was enough to give them an early 1-0 lead, as senior striker Katie Ritter drilled a penalty kick into the left corner of the net in the sixth minute.

"Every team gets their heads up when they're winning," Ritter said. "I think our heads got up too high, and we got caught off guard."

Winters Mill took over from there.

"After the PK, it was pedal to the metal and we never stopped," Hicks said.

The Falcons evened the score at 1-1 in the 33rd minute when Madison Cyr punched in a loose ball in front of the net. They took a 2-1 lead in the 66th minute as Carolyn Smith scored on a header off a pass from Meghan Sturgill.

"I just wanted to go so hard after that, but there just weren't many chances," Ritter said. "Their defense was pretty good, and we just couldn't get our shots off."

The Hubs played the majority of the game without standout junior Kelsey Smith, who was sidelined with a knee injury.

"Not having Kelsey in the game definitely hurt us," Aleshire said. "She's always a threat to score."

North goalie Lindsay Irving had 10 saves, including a few sensational ones. Erin McMunn had five saves for the Falcons.

The two teams met earlier this season on Sept. 22, and that match ended in a 1-1 tie.

"They're a much-improved team, and we knew that coming in," Aleshire said. "Right now, they're probably playing the best soccer in 2A."

"You can't take anything away from our season," he added. "The girls did a tremendous job, and we'll be back next year."

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