Century’s players rushed to embrace Sara Figuly when she left the stands at the end of the Class 2A state girls soccer championship game against No. 13 Loch Raven Friday.
Figuly was unable to coach the Knights in the playoffs after falling ill, giving them even more incentive to beat the Raiders.
“It gave us the motivation to go out and win state for her,” Century sophomore forward Hannah Warther said.
No. 9 Century posted a 3-0 victory at UMBC as the Knights claimed their first state title since 2003.
Warther scored two goals and senior midfielder Alyssa Malanik had three assists.
“It was beautiful soccer,” said Figuly, who sat next to acting coach George Taggart and four players in a postgame press conference. “It was amazing to watch. Everything we have worked on all season came together. In my book it was perfect soccer, and you will probably never hear me say that again.”
Century (16-2-1) applied tremendous offensive pressure to Loch Raven defenders Demetra Lambros, Erica Carpenter and Megan Harper in the first half.
Before the Knights scored two goals late in the period, they went through a frustrating seven-minute stretch in which they produced two shots that whistled over the goal and another that went wide.
Century broke through in the 30th minute when senior forward Jaci Buteau converted a crossing pass from Malanik from 10 yards in front of the goal and into the left corner of the net.
Warther made it 2-0 three minutes later on another Malanik feed.
“They played fast the whole game,” Loch Raven coach Anthony Menegatti. “We had a hard time adjusting to the speed out there. They were relentless. They were flying all over the field.
Warther finished the scoring with a goal in the middle of the second half.
Loch Raven (16-4) recorded its first shot on goal in the 67th minute, although Emma Norman’s attempt was easily saved by Century keeper Lindsay Wagner.
Knight defenders, primarily senior Bethany Guillen, juniors Kristen Yanchoris and Erin Bielski and sophomore Maddie Hart, helped limit the Raiders to only one other shot.
It was their first shutout after four consecutive 2-1 playoff victories.
“The biggest concern we had was coming out in the second half,” Taggart said. “The last couple of game we had come out flat. They knew they had to come out and do it again. That’s what they did. Loch Raven didn’t come down the field more than a couple of times until late in the game. They did a great job of controlling the game and just dominating.”
Class 2A state final
Century 3 Loch Raven 0
Goals: C – Warther 2, Buteau
Assists: C – Malanik 3
Saves: C – Wagner 1; LR – Burnett 3
Half: C, 2-0