Making their first state tournament appearance and facing an undefeated team didn’t faze Southern-AA, which got a goal from senior forward Shiloh McKenzie in the 10th minute and protected the lead for the duration to defeat Parkside 1-0 Friday and advance to next week’s Class 2A state final.
Southern (12-5-1) will meet the winner of Saturday’s Glenelg-Middletown semifinal next week at UMBC. The state finals will take place Nov. 17-19, with specific dates and times to be determined.
Parkside, from Salisbury in Wicomico County, ended its season with a 17-1 mark.
The word Southern coach Brooke Walsh got on the Rams was that they started fast, so she challenged her team to beat them to the punch, and McKenzie did just that. After taking a pass from midfielder Lindsey Bittinger, she dribbled past a defender before firing a shot from 10 yards to beat Parkside goalie Bethany Davis.
“We knew [Parkside] wasn’t used to playing from behind, so it gave us a cushion, really boosted our confidence and allowed us to relax,” said McKenzie, who now has three goals. “Nobody would have every thought Southern High School would make it to the state. School is going to be crazy on Monday. I’m just happy and grateful to have another week to play.”
Parkside didn’t make things easy for the Bulldogs in the second half, pushing for a tying goal that didn’t come. Brie Custis had a chance from the left side that banged off the near post with 18:45 to play, and Southern goalie Maddie Mona (five saves) was quick to react on a heavy shot from Lindsey Keen that deflected off defender Deanna Segreti right in front with 14:20 left.
Class 2A state semifinals (at Bel Air)
Southern-AA 1, Parkside 0
Goals: S – McKenzie.
Saves: S – Mona 5; P – Davis 4.
Half: S, 1-0.