This was supposed to be a matchup between two teams headed for the state 1A-2A girls soccer tournament.
But it turned out to be mostly a North Carroll show in a 2-0 victory over Liberty last night, ruining the final home game for seven Liberty seniors.
The Panthers jumped ahead, 2-0, in the first half on goals by Ashlee Douglas and Julie Baker and coasted to the win in the second half.
The win may have been a costly, as the Panthers senior wing Stephanie May apparently injured her neck in the final seconds of the game.
May collided with Liberty goalkeeper Dani Fostik as time ran out,
and was attended to for several minutes before being taken by ambulance to a hospital.
Douglas, in a duel with South Carroll's Amber Clutter for the Carroll County scoring title, scored her 15th goal of the season early in the first half. She also has six assists.
North Carroll shut out Liberty's 12-goal scorer Amy Wolff.
"Our plan was to have Francine Hewes shadow Amy Wolff every where she went," said North Carroll assistant coach Tom Davidson. "And she did the job perfectly."
The victory clinched a regional state playoff berth for the Panthers (7-3-2), who will most likely be seeded second behind Towson and have the home-field advantage in the opening round.
Liberty (4-4-2) should still make the 1A-2A regionals but will have to play on the road.
"We were coming off two straight 4-0 victories and were a little slow in our tracks," said Lions coach Lynn Stone. "We wanted to get the home field for the regionals but just didn't play well."
The Panthers kept the ball at the Liberty end of the field most of the first half and had excellent chances for at least two more goals.
Douglas gave North Carroll a 1-0 lead 12:08 into the game when she sent a high bouncing shot past Fostik.
Liberty had two breakaway scoring opportunities in the next 10 minutes, but both times the Lions took ill-advised shots in an attempt to tie the game.