By ANDREW MASON
10:11 PM EST, November 6, 2012
Williamsport did all it could do to show it belonged in the Maryland Class 2A West girls soccer final Tuesday night.
And Middletown showed why it’s moving on to the state semifinals.
Brittney George and Alizah Johns-Boehme each scored a goal and Mary Pritts had two assists as the Knights defeated the Wildcats 2-1 to win their third straight region title and move a step closer to their third consecutive state crown.
“In the end, we just got beat by a better team,” said Williamsport coach Tim Salvagno, whose team finished its season with a 13-3-1 record.
While the Wildcats certainly were bent Tuesday, getting outshot 30-6, they never were broken.
“For us, it was about two things,” Salvagno said, “playing a full 80 minutes, which we did, and weathering the storm, which we knew was coming. Our defense has been our backbone all year. Sam Taylor (a senior defender), I can’t say enough about the way she played.”
Middletown (14-2) went up 1-0 in the ninth minute as George scored on a header off a corner kick by Pritts.
The Wildcats kept it a one-goal game, and then tied it in the 50th minute on a goal by Ashley Likely, which was assisted by Kate Wade.
“When we scored, the belief came back,” Salvagno said. “Until we got the goal, I don’t think we knew we were good enough to win.”
It didn’t seem to faze the Knights.
“We didn’t get flustered,” Middletown coach Heather Kline said. “We just kept on working.”
Just two minutes later, in the 52nd minute, Johns-Boehme’s goal put the Knights in front for good.
While Williamsport was held to only a single shot the rest of the way, Middletown continued its relentless attack as Wildcats goalie Julia Price stayed busy.
Price, a senior, finished with 17 saves, including a handful of spectacular stops.
“She’s the best keeper in Washington County. She’s top-notch,” Salvagno said. “Without her, it could have been a lot worse.”
With her, Williamsport was never out of it.
“I knew they were going to be a very good team,” Kline said of the Wildcats. “I saw them play Oakdale on Saturday (in a 1-0 victory in the semifinals). They possess the ball great and work hard. They’re an 80-minute team, and we knew they wouldn’t stop.”
But it was the Knights who wouldn’t be stopped. They’ll face North champ Long Reach in the state semis either Friday or Saturday.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, will have to wait until next fall to try again.
“We had a great season,” said Salvagno, whose team advanced two rounds further in the playoffs than last year. “We learned a lot about ourselves. The program is heading in the right direction.”