Bel Air's bid to win its first girls soccer state championship ended Saturday night on the campus of CCBC-Essex.
The Bobcats were beaten, 1-0, by Huntingtown on a second half goal, scored on a re-start with 31:27 to play in the Class 3A state semifinal.
The goal came on a direct kick after the Bobcats were whistled for a push.
Huntingtown junior defender Paige Fallin took the kick from 36 yards out. The high line drive kick was just high enough to get over Bel Air sophomore goalie Andrea Sipos' hands, yet under the cross bar.
"When the ball gets up into the lights and it's floating for a while, the goalie's looking up in the air. Sometimes, you don't know where you are on your line, you don't know how close you are," Bobcats Head Coach Josh Clemmer said after the game. "She might have thought she had a play on it. She's going to be hard on herself because she had a misplay, but we wouldn't be here without her."
Coincidentally, Bel Air had its own direct kick six minutes earlier from the same distance, but Jordan Layfield, one of nine seniors, watched her kick sail over the goal.
With just under 10 minutes left, Bel Air junior forward Kayla Klock seemed ready to tie the contest. Klock beat a defender inside the box and then had Huntingtown goalie Emily Chapman off her line and on the ground.
Klock's touch to slide the ball past Chapman was just a slight bit too hard, and the ball rolled out of bounds.
"So much adrenaline, I saw the ball and I went for it and I guess I just touched it too far," Klock said. "I knew it was like my only opportunity."
Opportunities for either team were very limited as far as serious shots on goal go.
"They were a really tough defense. We just couldn't get the ball through like we usually do," Klock said. "They do the zone really well, so it was hard for us to get the through ball, which is the game we usually play."
A cross by Jordan Layfield in the final minutes came up empty and the game ended on the Bobcats only second half corner kick, which also came away empty.
Bel Air could make nothing out of a very few chances in the first half either.
The Bobcats had a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks, but only one revealed a shot with 23:00 left.
Jordan Layfield took the kick, which went to the head of younger sister Jamie Layfield, a sophomore. The head ball sailed harmlessly high over the goal.
Six minutes prior, Natalie Decker also hit a shot high over the goal off a crossing pass from Klock.
Juliana Portera and Klock also offered first half shots, but both were weak ground ball shots controlled easily by Huntingtown goalie Chapman.
Chapman finished with five saves and Bel Air goalie Sipos finished with eight saves.
"It was an amazing season, that's what I'll tell the girls and send them home with," Clemmer said. "Even though we're disappointed about one game, you look at the season as a whole and they're just a great group of girls. You couldn't ask for a better group of girls to coach."
The Bobcats (15-3-1) reached the state finals in 2000 and 2002 and were semifinalists in 1996, 1998 and 2010.