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Catonsville girls soccer falls in regional final on penalty kicks

By Craig Clary, cclary@tribune.com

6:45 PM EST, November 5, 2012

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Catonsville’s dream season ended with a home loss to Sherwood in the Class 4A North Region championship game.

Sherwood earned the victory by winning on penalty kicks, 3-2, after the teams battled to a 1-1 tie through double overtime.

Sherwood senior goalie Nikki Steiner saved three penalty kicks and Warriors Amanda Pustis, Quinn Pettanati and Hope Gouterman converted their free kicks to give the Warriors the regional crown.
Catonsville’s Jenn Nonn and Ali Dingle made the PK’s for the Comets.

The Comets got on the scoreboard first, thanks to Catonsville junior back Anna Higdon.

Higdon, known for her steady defense, proved to be just the offensive tonic the Comets (14-2) needed to take a 1-0 lead.

The left-footed kicker curled a corner kick off the back of the head of Sherwood’s Tiffany Woods for an own goal with 9:06 left in the first half.

Sherwood (12-1) scored the equalizer just under seven minutes into the second half when Becca Dunwoody drilled home Lauren Wood’s pass from 20 yards out.

The Warriors kept the pressure on for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but the Comets kept them off the scoreboard behind strong defense from Higdon, Katie Viets, Renee Gast, Lauren Vogelpohl, Nicole Jouan and goalie Natalie Croom.

That defense allowed only six goals all season.

Catonsville applied most of its offensive pressure late in the half due to outstanding hustle from Higdon, Gast, Carly Toulan, Jenn Nonn, Deb Milani, Claudia Flister and Ali Dingle.

They helped to set up a shot by Dingle just outside the post that Steiner deflected in the final three seconds.

Catonsville controlled time of possession and had more scoring opportunities in each overtime.

With 8:30 left in the second overtime, Higdon’s corner kick nearly led to a game-winning goal when the ball was tapped from Dingle to Milani, but Milani’s shot was saved by Steiner.

Dingle had a shot the leaked wide with 1:04 left in the second overtime and Nonn’s shot at the buzzer was corralled by Steiner.