Sparrows Point sophomore midfielder Kalli Bell will never forget her performance in the Class 1A state championship game against Patterson Mill.
Bell scored two first-half goals and added an assist to power the Pointers to a state-record fifth straight title in a 3-0 victory over the Huskies at Loyola Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex on Friday night.
If Sparrows Point coach Lori Sexton had tried to guess which of her players would have the biggest impact in the game, Bell might not have been her first choice.
Bell started the season as a defender, missed seven games because of a quad injury and moved to midfield four games ago.
Bell came into the game with three goals and an assist.
“I was more excited than nervous because I am always stuck at center back,” Bell said. “It was nice to get a lot of runs forward and have scoring opportunities.”
Bell helped No. 6 Sparrows Point (16-2) beat Patterson Mill for the third straight time in the state final.
The Pointers were tied with Bethesda-Chevy Chase as the only teams to win four consecutive titles until the Baltimore County school snapped the deadlock.
“We ask ourselves every year, ‘Can we do five? Is it even possible?’ Yes it is,” said Sexton, a first-year coach who served as a Sparrows Point assistant for the previous three seasons. “A few years ago, we lost 13 players and we still came back and won. I just feel like nothing can stop us.”
Patterson Mill (11-6-1) played well early and had a scoring chance about two minutes into play when Alexis Utain split two defenders right in front of the goal.
The play looked promising for the Huskies until Sparrows Point keeper Jaddah Foos rushed out of the net to snatch the ball before Utain could reach it.
After that play, the Pointers dominated the first half, holding a huge advantage in shots (10-1) and penalty corners (5-0).
Sparrows Point went ahead, 1-0, with 33:44 remaining in the first half. The ball bounced off a defender and right to Bell, whose blistering right-footed shot from just outside the 18-yard box went to the upper left corner and just out of the reach of leaping goalie Marie Claire Cicenia.
Sparrows Point threatened to score about three minutes later, but Cicenia made a diving save on Bell’s header off of Julie Lynch’s corner kick
The Pointers boosted their lead to 2-0 — the halftime score — with 24:29 remaining on Bell’s hard shot to the upper right corner.
Lynch, who scored the game-winner in the final the past two years and has verbally committed to West Virginia, was credited with the assist.
Midway through the half, the Huskies’ Marissa Lapinsky's free kick from about 35 yards out went over the goal.
Bell almost had a hat trick late in the first half after she collected a pass from Lynch and booted the ball to the center of the goal, but Cicenia deflected it over the net.
“Sometimes, we will be winning a game, one or two to nothing, but we are kind of nervous,” Bell said. “We all came out at halftime and were like, ‘We have this game in the bag if we just continue to play as we have been playing.’ We were just so dominant on the field compared to Patterson Mill.”
Bell assisted the Pointers’ third goal, which was scored by junior midfielder Sammie Bennett with 11:48 remaining in the second half.
The Sparrows Point defense of Abby Meadows, Dezirae Pomory, Emalee Travagline and Alaina Jacurak helped limit Patterson Mill to three shots.
“It was definitely not our best performance,” Patterson Mill coach Mike Parker said. “It’s not what you want to see in the state championship. We just weren’t able to execute today.”
Goals: SP—Bell, 2. Bennett.
Assists: SP—Lynch, Bell.
Saves: P—Cicenia 10; SP – Foos 1.
Half: SP, 2-0
Editor’s note: An earlier version had the wrong county Sparrows Point is located in.