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Browne’s game-winning header puts Oakland Mills girls soccer over Hammond

Freshman Kaity Browne talks Oakland Mills girls soccer after the Scorpions' 1-0 win over Hammond on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

Kaity Browne was getting frustrated in the second half.

The freshman thought Oakland Mills should be winning its home game against Hammond, but the score remained tied at 0-0. The Scorpions were dominating possession for much of the game, Browne, the team’s top goal-scorer, was being stymied by Hammond’s physical defenders and she had to leave the game for a few minutes with a calf injury.

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Browne, however, kept her cool when the Scorpions needed her most.

With 90 seconds remaining, the freshman forward scored a header off a corner kick from Emily Herrera to give Oakland Mills the 1-0 win over Hammond.

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“Hammond is our biggest rival, and we really wanted to win,” Browne said. “We had to keep our heads up.”

Oakland Mills head coach Hassan Mostafa said he was happy with how his team battled. He knows it can get frustrating when shots aren’t finding the back of the net, but “they know that’s soccer sometimes.”

“For us, I’m happy with how hard they worked,” he said. “I’m very proud, and I’m ecstatic.”

The second-year coach said set pieces are a crucial part of the Scorpions’ offense. The goal off the corner is the sixth straight game Oakland Mills has scored off a set piece.

“Everyone has a job on a corner kick, and we perfectly executed them on that goal,” he said. “Emily played a fantastic ball into the box, everyone crashed and Kaity did a great job with the header.”

Browne jumped over everyone on the near-post cross from Herrera for her eighth goal of the season. Browne said having a player like Herrera to accurately send crosses into the box makes her job easier as a striker.

“I was working to get a corner, because I know what we can do on them,” Browne said. “It was a beautiful kick by Emily. Every kick she does is right where we want it.”

Browne said she was “nervous” for the start of the season with the role of stepping in for her older sister, Kerry, who was a senior all-county player for the Oakland Mills (1-1 Howard County, 5-5) last season. Mostafa said Kaity Browne has been displaying her “talent” all season and her fight through adversity against Hammond is proof that she’s “only going to get better.”

“She got beat up a little bit, and I told her teams would do that because she’s a freshman,” Mostafa said. “I told her to keep playing through it, because she’s talented enough to create her own chances. She’s got speed, and when she gets a sight at goal she is going to put it in the back of the net. It’s nice to know we will have her for the next three years.”

Before Browne’s goal, Hammond’s defense played its best game of the year, according to Golden Bears head coach April Motaung. The fast and physical Hammond (0-3, 2-7) defenders didn’t give up on any play to keep the shut out until the corner in the 79th minute.

“My defense was probably the strongest it’s been all season,” she said. “Maya Lane had probably one of her best games, and she put it all out on the field. Layla Hamro is one of the fastest players in Howard County, and she saved about three or four goals in this game. Camryn Johnson came back from an injury and played well, and Morgan Lane is a freshman who is making some really good plays.”

Oakland Mills is back in action Saturday at Dundalk, while Hammond’s next game is at home against Long Reach on Monday, Oct. 7.

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Box score:

Oakland Mills 1, Hammond 0

Goals: OM — Kaity Browne.

Assists: OM — Emily Herrera.

Halftime: 0-0

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