Girls Soccer: Owls denied another shot at 3A West title

Girls Soccer: Owls denied another shot at 3A West title
Westminster's Hannah Dintino moves the ball with heavy Linganore defense. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO)

For the fourth straight year, Westminster’s chance to play in a girls soccer state tournament ended one game short.

The Owls fell to Linganore 3-0 in the Class 3A West final at Linganore on Tuesday and for the third time in four years, the Lancers are headed back to the state semifinals. It was cold and a steady rain fell through the duration of the game and players on both sides did whatever they could to keep warm.


“We could have improved on playing to our forwards’ feet,” Owls senior captain Margie Spann said. “We just kind of played it down the field and their defenders got there first. I think we did well defensively and were quick to the ball and we moved the ball in the middle, which was good.”

Linganore delivered the offensive pressure early when junior midfielder Fiona Rowan sent a feed to teammate Juliana Zeller for a goal and a Lancer lead just three minutes in. Westminster senior defender Aleena Griffith cleared a ball out of the Owls zone as the Lancers continued to press with 21:28 left in the first half.

The home team then garnered a corner-kick opportunity and Rowan connected with senior forward Haley Barge, who headed the ball into the back of the net.

At halftime, the Owls danced and jumped to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” to keep warm and stay loose.

The Owls took an early shot on goal less than a minute into the second half, but it was caught by Lancer goalie Maddie Cunningham — the senior made six saves on the night. Rowan registered her third assist when she sent a feed up to Barge, who scored on a brief breakaway to put the Lancers up 3-0 early in the frame.

Shots on goal increased for the Owls in the second half, but none were finished. Westminster coach Todd Muschik said minor mistakes allowed Linganore to convert their goals and he praised the way his team played defensively.

“I’m definitely proud,” Spann said. “We faced a lot of tough competition this year and I’m proud we made it this far.”

Senior goalie Sydney Popielski made nine saves for the Owls (9-5-3).

“Our first touch hurt us,” Muschik said. “It’s hard playing on a turf field when you don’t play on one all season. It makes a big difference and it make a difference tonight.”

The Owls were in search of their first regional title since 2004. The Lancers will face either Bel Air or Towson in a state semifinal on Saturday.

“For some of the seniors, this is their fourth time making it to the regional final,” Muschik said. “Unfortunately we’ve been on the back end of it all four but it’s something to say lot of teams don’t get to make it to the regional final even once and we’re here four years in a row.”

Goals: L- Haley Barge 2, Juliana Zeller.

Assists: L-Fiona Rowan 3.

Saves: W-9 (Sydney Popielski); L-6 (Maddie Cunningham).


Halftime: Linganore, 2-0.