For the second straight season Oakland Mills spoiled Hammond's designs on the Howard County girls soccer championship, as the visiting No. 11 Scorpions upset No. 2 Hammond in the regular-season finale, 3-1, yesterday.
Oakland Mills senior forward and leading scorer Tricia Witte scored three second-half goals to lead the Scorpions (8-1-2, 4-1-2) past the Golden Bears (9-3, 5-2), the third straight victory in the past two years for Oakland Mills against Hammond.
The Golden Bears' loss leaves Wilde Lake in sole possession of first place.
"Don't ask me our secret because I really don't know why it is we have Hammond's number," said first-year Oakland Mills coach Steve Matters. "We hustle and try not to get beat-beat."
Hammond coach Dave Guetler can't explain why his team has been snake bitten by the Scorpions. It began with last year's 1-0 regular-season loss that left the Golden Bears tied with Centennial for the league crown and continued in the postseason when Oakland Mills ousted Hammond in the regional final.
Hammond, beginning the week unbeaten in league play and ranked No. 17 in the country by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, could not capitalize in the first half despite a 15-5 shot advantage.
Oakland Mills freshman goalie Nyiesha Ford stopped Hammond's one-two scoring punch of junior forward Kisha Jett (12 goals) and senior midfielder Kacy Williams (nine goals, five assists). Ford finished with 21 saves, including 11 in the second half with many coming off shots within five yards of the goal.
"She did one heck of a job, and it's a real tribute to our program because we lost nine seniors from a year ago," Matters said.
Despite losing Jett for much of the second half with a left ankle sprain, Hammond took a 1-0 lead five minutes into the second half when freshman Emily Bielefeld, following up Williams' point-blank shot, beat a sprawling Ford.
The rest of the second half, however, belonged to the Scorpions' Witte (17 goals, 10 assists). The forward tallied a hat trick in 20 minutes.
Witte's game-tying goal, off an assist by junior Lauren McHargue, was a header that sailed just over the reach of Hammond's charging senior goalie Amy Nestor.
Witte scored the go-ahead goal with 18 minutes left as senior Ginny Dye (10 goals, six assists) delivered a perfect cross to her teammate.
"There was a miscommunication on that first goal, and then Tricia is a very good striker, and you can't make any mistakes against her," Guetler said.
Witte iced the victory by slipping past two Hammond defenders to take a pass from senior midfielder Julie Parris and beat Nestor one on one with a left-footed crossing shot.
Guetler said Jett's ankle injury is not serious, but he did not want to risk losing her for the state playoffs by playing her when she may have overextended herself.