In a fierce, well-played game between highly ranked girls soccer teams, a game apparently headed for an overtime scoreless tie ended with dramatic suddenness.
With three minutes, 44 seconds remaining in a second five-minute overtime, Trish Young lofted a shot from the left wing that sailed over the out-stretched hands of goalkeeper Candy Kuligowski high into the net. It gave No. 4 Liberty (3-0) a stunning 1-0 triumph over visiting and No. 6 Fallston (0-1).
It was a game befitting their rankings. Both teams returned players from state championship squads of a year ago.
It turned out to be typical of recent meetings between the teams; a pairing that is rapidly becoming a rivalry.
Three years ago, Fallston won, 3-2, in a state semifinal on its way to a title; two years ago, Fallston won, 6-0, as All-Metro Beth Blasi had three goals and an assist, and last year, the schools played to a 2-2 tie.
By season's end, Fallston had won the newly created Class 3A-4A title, and Liberty had shared the Class 2A-3A crown with South River after a scoreless tie.
On the decisive play, Liberty had just gained control of the ball on the left side near midfield.
Michelle Allen sent it ahead to Young, who turned and in a relatively unguarded situation, got off the winning shot.
"I looked up and saw only the goalie," Young said. "I wasn't aiming for any spot; I was just trying to put it in."
Until that moment, the combined scoring chances could have been counted on one hand. Such was the work of the defenses that the goalkeepers had a relatively smooth time.
Liberty keeper Gina Cinquegrani, superb in an upset win of then No. 1-ranked St. Mary's last week, had one key deflection where she pushed the ball out of the goal mouth some 10 minutes into the first half.
From there on, it was a defensive struggle, led by Erica Gordon for the winning Lions and Fallston's Christy Peterson. "She was fantastic," Liberty coach said of sweeper Gordon.
For all the attacking Fallston did, she didn't lose her perspective.
Peterson, a senior who has been shifted around on defense, was all over the field, leading a predominantly young team by example.
"I thought we played a little better against St. Mary's, but our styles are similar," Liberty coach Sam DeLaurence said.
"Fallston played kick-and-run and drove the ball up the field. They are fast and aggressive, and go to the ball as well as any team we'll see."
Liberty will play at Glenelg tomorrow. Fallston will play Hammond next.
No. 5 C. Milton Wright 2, No. 15 McDonogh 2: Katie Nelson rallied the visiting Eagles (1-0-2) by scoring with 9: 25 remaining in the second half and the ranked teams settled for a tie.
Marissa Schuchat also scored for McDonogh, which outshot the Mustangs, 35-7. Dawn Rumbley and Jamie Gerhart scored Wright.
Pub Date: 9/10/97