Fall behind a goal, don't panic, score two goals before the half and successfully go from there.
For the Manchester Valley girls soccer team, it proved to be a winning pattern against Brunswick in two meetings this season.
The latest, coming Saturday at UMBC Stadium, gave the Mustangs their second straight Class 1A state championship.
Senior Karlyn Warzinski and junior Jamie Rickabaugh scored goals less than two minutes apart near the end of the first half, and Rickabaugh added a goal after halftime to complete a 3-1 win over the Railroaders from Frederick County.
Manchester Valley finished the season with a 13-3-2 record, edging Carroll County rival North Carroll, 1-0, to open the 1A South region playoffs and then outscoring its next two opponents 12-1 to reach Saturday's title game. The Mavericks beat Monocracy Valley Athletic League foe Brunswick, 4-1, in last year's title game and then surrendered the first goal in this year's season opener before winning, 5-1.
For the Mavericks, going into halftime up one goal instead of down one goal made all the difference.
"We have a little mantra — 'If they don't score, they don't win,'" Manchester Valley coach Joe Miller said. "And that's what they kept saying [at halftime] — 'Coach Joe, give us that one line you always say.'"
Trailing 1-0 after Brunswick senior forward Dara Demrich scored her 28th goal of the season in the 24th minute, the Mavericks had the better of the play and eventually broke through with the late spurt in the first half. After Rickabaugh was taken down in the penalty area, Warzinski went to the right side on the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game at 1 with 2:51 to play in the first half.
"I was terrified, but we practice it over and over. We were hoping not to get to [penalty kicks to determine the game], but just all the practice we put in, I was pretty confident. Once we got that first goal, it was a game-changer," Warzinski said.
Soon after, Rickabaugh found space on the right side and buried a shot from 12 yards to send the Mavericks into the halftime break with a 2-1 lead. In a flash, confidence was restored.
In the second half, the Mavericks successfully protected their lead with continued pressure before Rickabaugh scored her second goal and Carroll County-leading 18th of the season with 12:24 to play.
The Mavericks got a fine performance in the back from sophomore stopper Stephanie Colson, who played well being assigned the task of marking Demrich for most of the game.
Manchester Valley 3, Brunswick 1
Goals: B -- Demich; MV – Warzinski, Rickabaugh 2
Assists: MV -- Rienhimer
Saves: B – Gutierrez 9; MV – Kipe 2
Half: MV, 2-1Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun