The coach’s last words as her team left the soccer field at new Blandair Regional Park were clear.
“Bring warm clothes for practice tomorrow,” said Glenelg Country School’s Christy Mink.
At this time of year, that reminder can only mean one thing: the Dragons have survived another playoff game and will play again.
Glenelg Country didn’t just get past Key School. The Dragons dominated the visitors and won, 4-1, in the quarterfinal round of the C Conference in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championships Thursday.
Glenelg Country now moves on to the conference semifinals and will play the winner of the Park vs. Baltimore Lutheran contest, also played today. That semifinal matchup is set for 4 p.m. at Western Regional Park on Saturday. The winner advances to the championship game on Tuesday at Stevenson University.
Chloe Lewis gave Glenelg Country an early spark, scoring unassisted about five minutes into the game off a pass from Sabrina DeLeonibus. Lewis got the second goal, too, off a corner by Ninah Dawson, and has 17 for the season.
“Chloe is my target every time I take a corner,” said Dawson. “I look for her head.”
Glenelg Country had beaten Key, 7-0, a month ago but Key was stronger, both offensively and defensively this time, said Deja Hursey.
“This is the playoffs so every team comes out with heart. They showed tremendous effort and I applaud them for that,” Hursey said about Key’s performance.
By halftime, Key had made it a close game, with Caroline Gonter scoring to make it 2-1.
“It was a 1v1. Those are hard things to stop. It was a lucky goal,” said Dawson about Gonter’s goal.
Hursey scored early in the second half to widen the gap again, and added a second goal with six minutes left in the game. She now has 18 goals.
But late in the game, with the score 3-1 at the time, Key made serious threats again, pressuring Glenelg Country’s defense for several minutes. Defenders Dawson and Megan Steeley shut down most attacks, and Minahil Choudry made a big save with about 10 minutes left in the game.
Choudry had three saves for the afternoon.
“We stopped them,” said Steeley. “We only gave up that one goal. Whenever (the ball) got behind me, Ninah was always there for me.”
In addition to Dawson, Tala Ahmadi and Lewis had assists in the win.
“We showed a lot of heart. Everyone played at 150 percent. We give our best when everyone is working together,” Lewis added.
With their opponent for Saturday’s semifinal still not yet known, the players were undecided about the team they prefer to face. The Dragons lost just three games this fall, but one was to Park, which won the Gold Division of the C Conference and are 13-3 overall.
Both the Dragons (11-3) and Baltimore Lutheran (5-10 overall) are in the Red Division of the C Conference. Glenelg Country finished first in the division, including 5-1 and 8-0 wins over Lutheran
Mink was undecided, too, about her preference. “We have beaten Baltimore Lutheran twice. But I would like to play Park, too. When we lost to them, we did not play anywhere near the level we are capable of playing,” she said.
“As long as we believe we can do it, it doesn’t matter who we play,” said Dawson.
Public school playoff schedule
Long Reach and Marriotts Ridge will meet at 6 p.m. Saturday at Howard High School in the Class 2A North Region semifinals. Oakland Mills will play in the other semifinal and will face the winner of today’s Owings Mills vs. Loch Raven game. Game details are not yet known.
In the Class 3A East Region, River Hill and Wilde Lake will play in one semifinal and Atholton will play in the other against the winner of the Annapolis vs. Stephen Decatur game. None of the region’s game times or sites are available.
Regional championship games are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6.