After losing back-to-back games early in the season, Howard knew this week was crucial to prove what type of team it was.
The Lions had lost to Hammond in the Meade Classic Tournament on Sept. 10, and walking on to the Golden Bears turf Thursday it added extra motivation to get the win.
“Yes, major motivation from the Meade Tournament. We just felt like we didn’t perform as well as we could when we first played Hammond and we knew we could win,” said Howard coach Bali Boule after her team clinched the 1-0 victory Thursday. “We had a million shots on goal and we felt like we possessed the ball well tonight. So our motivation was to just, again, have our record reflect our efforts and the work that we put in. So the win was very important.”
Julia Schmidt was the beneficiary for the Lions, heading in the go-ahead goal off a Logan Filler corner kick in the first half of play. Schmidt has had a knack for putting away corners as of late, registering her second goal in three games.
“She all of the sudden loves heading the ball and has become a go-to for the corners,” Boule said. “She is very solid. I mean we have handful of girls that will head the ball, but Julia seems to want it more than the others. So yeah, Julia has been playing excellent this past week. She played outside mid [today], last game she played sweeper, other game she played outside defense – so she’s just very versatile, very hungry.”
Howard took the one-goal advantage into the break, with Hammond coming out in the following minutes determined to knock in the game-tying score.
However, the Lions controlled most of the final 40 minutes, tallying 10 shots on Golden Bears goalkeeper Vicki Howard in the half, with the senior coming up big throughout, punching several high arcing shots over the bar. Howard played huge in net and finished with six saves in the final 40 minutes.
“I don’t want to take any credit away from Howard. They played a great game. They were able to win a one-on-one matchup and was able to put one into the goal,” said Hammond coach Chris Reagle. “Their goalie played great, our goalie played great and besides the one corner kick I think that was kind of the difference in the game.”
The Golden Bears best opportunity came on a breakaway by Mansa Asiedu, running on to a deflection from a miss-clear by a Lions defender. However, Howard sophomore goalkeeper Mya McConnell read the play perfectly, came off her line and aggressively ran out and made the save, preserving the lead.
“Mya saved us,” Boule said. “Mya’s confidence has just been going up every game as it should. I said at the beginning of the season that Mya doesn’t know how good she is and I think that was true. And I think when she makes those big saves and when our team appreciates her, then her confidence goes up, which also becomes her improving and being a better player. So it’s all sort of falling into place for Mya. She’s awesome. We all love her.”
McConnell – a first-year starter – finished the night with nine saves and registered her third consecutive shutout for the Lions.
“I started out really, really nervous but the team has made me really comfortable, so knowing that I make a big impact feels really good on me,” McConnell said. “To get the win today definitely felt good because at the tournament we were all kind of disappointed from our loss and today it just felt like we were all back on track, and we were all just really proud of the win. Now that we’ve piled up some wins, I’m feeling really confident. I feel like we can go all the way.”
The win marked the Lions third straight victory after two losses to the Golden Bears and Atholton early in the season. With a 3-1 mark in county play, the Lions have now put themselves back near the top of the county race.
“I think our attitude and outlook has changed,” Boule said. “I think we felt like we were being majorly underestimated, and we are playing to our full potential. We just didn’t want to go like that. We knew we weren’t going to get the recognition and maybe the props that we wanted until our record showed it. It wasn’t going to be about the effort. It wasn’t going to be about how many shots we had, how many saves we had – it was going to be about what does our record say? And so we came into this week with three really important games, just saying that these have got to be wins. We have to win the games that we can win, which are all of them. So we just had to look deep and refocus.”
As for Hammond, after starting the year with two impressive wins at the Meade Classic against Howard and Meade, it has lost four consecutive games and has had tough luck with injuries all along its roster.
“After the Meade Tournament we’ve had four starters injured who haven’t been able to play in the last three or four games and that’s been tough for us,” Reagle said. “We were looking so good after the tournament and then we had girls with a broken back, sprained ankles, sprained knees, everything under the sun. And it’s been a struggle for us the past couple games, but they’re playing tough and keeping it close, it’s just tough to overcome those obstacles.”
Reagle hopes to get some of his girls back healthy in October before the postseason.
“A couple of them I think are pretty close in getting back in shape. Hopefully that will give us a chance to hit our spot right before the playoff run,” he said. “And you know, that’s what we’re kind of looking at. Suffering kind of maybe through the tough time these couple weeks, and then maybe, hopefully hitting our stride by playoff time and give it a run then.”
Hammond is back on the field Sept. 27 against Long Reach, while Howard gets set for a big matchup against Reservoir Saturday.
Howard (3-2, 2-1) 1, Hammond (2-3, 0-3) 0 (Thursday, Sept. 22)
Goals: Ho – Schmidt.
Assists: Ho – Filler.
Saves: Ho – McConnell 9, Ha – Howard.
Halftime: 1-0, Howard.
Glenelg Country school ends win-streak at 32 after overtime loss to Mt. de Sales.
The Dragons, with 30 seconds ticking down in the first 10-minute overtime against Mt. de Sales Thursday, had an opportunity to boost their winning streak to 33 games – but the opportunity quickly turned toward the Sailors.
Glenelg Country earned a corner kick with one final attempt on net to possibly escape with the win. Brianna Chun sent an arcing kick near the middle of the box, but Mt. de Sales cleared the ball and immediately counterattacked the other way. Shay Ahearn made a diving stop on the initial attempt on frame, but the Sailors Julia Malcotti was there to clean up in front of net and seal the, 1-0 victory.
“We’re very young back there, but they played very smart. They kept pushing the midfield and kept pushing the ball forward, trying to keep it in the half field and with our possession it paid off, because we had a lot of chances, we just couldn’t get it in the goal,” said Mt. de Sales coach Dave Manser. “They are a very good team and they worked really hard, but you know, it was just unfortunate that we couldn’t knock it in. Their keeper was phenomenal like I said – we wanted to win and we needed a win, because we were struggling, so it was great to get an overtime win.”
The Sailors had dominated possession and out-shot Glenelg Country 32-3 in the game, but a strong outing by its defense, backed by an even more stellar day from Ahearn (27 saves), and the Dragons were about to escape with the win. Unfortunately, it all turned in the matter of 10 seconds.
“I mean they were finally tested – like continuously tested. Mt. de Sales played really well and we have to learn to make adjustments to what we’re facing,” said Glenelg Country coach Christy Cole. “We really haven’t had to make adjustments in the last couple years, so you know some kids that have less experience really stepped up today and did what we asked of them.”
Ahearn and the Dragons defense were tested all game long, as most of the match was played on their defensive half. Ahearn made some miraculous saves throughout the game, and nearly came up with another game-saving stop on the breakaway attempt late in the game, but Malcotti was in the perfect place to finish off on the rebound.
“We had a lot of chances today, but we just couldn’t – the keeper was just incredible, she had a phenomenal game and we just couldn’t get it in, but we got that breakaway," Manser added. "She made a great save on the initial one, and then Julia finished up and just knocked it in. It was great and it was a great win for us because we’ve been struggling.”
It was a much needed victory for Mt. de Sales, who had lost five of six heading into the game, while Glenelg Country, after starting the season 3-0 in its first year moved up to the B conference, will try and bounce back Sept. 27 against Garrison Forest.
“Certainly being down three starters hurts with leadership on the field, but I mean, from a defensive stand point with Shay in goal – they did what they needed to do,” Cole added. “I think we demonstrated today that we can hang with the teams in the B [conference]. They played very well, but I also have seen us play better. The goal is still up there for us to keep winning.”
Mt. de Sales (2-5, 1-3 IAAM B) 1, Glenelg Country (3-1, 3-1 IAAM B) 0 (OT) (Thursday, Sept. 22)
Goals: MDS – Malcotti.
Saves: MDS – Pallozzi 1; GCS – Ahearn 27.
Around the league:
Atholton (6-1, 4-0) 2, Centennial (5-2, 2-2) 1 (OT) (Thursday, Sept. 22)
In a battle between two top teams in the county, the hosting Raiders came out with the win over the Eagles in thrilling overtime fashion.
“The quality of play combined with the speed and playoff intensity made for a great game to watch,” said Centennial coach Steve Baxter. “It is always disappointing to lose, but this was a game that could go either way and was fun to be a part of.”
Baxter and Atholton coach Stephanie Stoutenborough have faced each other eight times the past seven seasons and all but one game has went into overtime – the other was won in the final minutes of regulation. So heading into the matchup Thursday it was only fitting that 80 minutes was not enough time to determine the winner.
The Eagles scored on their first shot attempt of the game with about 24 minutes left in the first half. Senior Jasmine McCree opened up with the game’s first goal, assisted by sophomore Mckenna Griffin. Atholton nearly tied up the game before the break, but Centennial sophomore goalkeeper Courtney Mcvicker came up with the big point-blank save.
The Raiders eventually tied the game up midway through the second half on a counter attack. Junior Adrienne Vaughn was the beneficiary on the goal, with senior Ashley Ensor assisting on the play.
It took about a minute and 30 seconds into the extra time before junior Victoria Huxtable finished on the golden-goal with Vaughn credited with the assist.
The victory pushed Atholton to 4-0 in county play –tops in the league. Its next matchup is Sept. 27 at Mt. Hebron, while Centennial travels to Marriotts Ridge. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Goals: A – Vaughn, Huxtable; C – McCree.
Assists: A – Ensor, Vaugh; C – Griffin.
Saves: A – Bathras 6; Mcvicker 4.
Halftime: 1-0, Centennial.
Mt. Hebron (4-3, 2-2) 3, Oakland Mills (0-6, 0-4) 1 (Thursday, Sept. 22)
Goals: MH – Lamparella, Mahoney, Krell.
Saves: MH – Pallozzi 4.