Pikesville cracked the Oakland Mills defense with relentless pressure. It just took awhile.
Laurie Weiss broke a scoreless tie 3:39 into the second half and later assisted Jamie Robbins on the insurance goal as host and top seed Pikesville defeated fourth seed Oakland Mills, 2-0, in a Class 2A South Region semifinal yesterday.
Pikesville (10-2) will be the host of second seed Lackey, a 2-1 overtime winner over third seed Hammond, in the region final tomorrow at 3 p.m. Oakland Mills finished the season at 4-8-1.
The Panthers kept the ball in the Oakland Mills end for much of the game. Pikesville outshot Oakland Mills, 19-3, and had 18 penalty corners to only one for the Scorpions. Pikesville controlled play in the first half, but really began pressing in the second half.
The Pikesville front line, consisting of Weiss, Beth Cohen, Lisa Palko and Stefany Flax, helped keep the ball inside the Oakland Mills circle for a good part of the second session.
"It's really tough for a team, no matter how good the defense is, to withstand that kind of pressure inside the circle," said Pikesville coach Tim Fowler. "Sooner or later, it's going in."
And it went in for Pikesville and Weiss with 26:31 left in the game. That's when Beth Cohen fired a shot that Oakland Mills goalie Kelly Naylor stopped. The rebound bounced to Weiss, who put it in.
"It came right to me," said Weiss. "I saw the corner and it went in."
Weiss then set up the second goal. After a penalty corner, Weiss sent it toward the goal from the far right, and Robbins deflected it past Naylor from the front with 13:11 left.
Naylor was the reason the final score stayed so close. The senior repeatedly frustrated Pikesville with her 18 saves (Pikesville goalie Shira Schlesinger did not have to make any), 11 of which came in the second half with the Scorpions in retreat much of the time.
"It got a little frustrating," said Naylor. "Once you get a little frustrated. . . things start to not go your way."
Things started to go against Oakland Mills fairly early. After starting slowly, Pikesville started getting deeper into the Oakland Mills end and making Naylor busy.
The Panthers got a penalty stroke nearly halfway through the half, but Cohen sent it wide left. The Panthers came up with four consecutive penalty corners late in the half, but no good shots.
"We didn't play our game today," said Oakland Mills coach Chris Marsiglia. "We were playing defense [often]. I think we were thinking defense."