Arundel goalkeeper Brian Morrison was ready for them all last night against No. 15 Glen Burnie. But one save in particular will be most remembered.
It came with 6: 40 left, when, diving to his left, he turned back a well-placed penalty kick from Ronnie Smith to preserve a 1-0 win in a Class 4A East Region first-round playoff game in Gambrills.
"I had a feeling to go right at first and at the last second I changed my mind and went left," said Morrison, a senior.
"We knew it was going to be tough, and I knew I would have to come up big a couple times. When you get to this point, you have to make a couple of big saves. We just had to keep the ball out of the net."
The Wildcats (4-9-2) move on to the region quarterfinals, where they will travel to North County at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
For the Gophers, a season filled with high expectations ended sooner than anticipated with a 6-5-1 mark.
Last night's effort for the Gophers looked fairly similar to the 3-1 win they enjoyed a couple weeks back against Arundel during the regular season. They controlled the flow most of the way, owning a 14-4 advantage in shots, but something was missing this time -- goals.
Credit Morrison, who turned back 14 shots, and also the Arundel defense in front of him, which certainly did bend but didn't break.
The Wildcats took the 1-0 lead in the final minute of a first half on a penalty kick from senior Ryan McCauley, who was dragged down from behind in the penalty area.
The Gophers got a creative performance from Smith at midfield and plenty of chances that either went wide, were blocked in front or found Morrison.
"We played as hard as we could," said Glen Burnie coach John Camm.
"The kids had high expectations and they are extremely disappointed, but that's the nature of the game. We moved the ball around well, but Arundel defended well, and their keeper played a great game."
Pressing continually, it appeared the Gophers would eventually get the game tied in the second half.
Casey McCormick had a nice turn inside the penalty area and shot from 12 yards out, but Morrison reacted well to send it aside.
With a free kick just outside the 18-yard mark moments later, Smith softly chipped a ball over the wall for McCormick again, who sent a shot from eight yards out wide right.
Then came Smith's turn on the penalty kick, after a hand ball from a Wildcats defender in the area. The shot was directed for the top right corner, but Morrison got just enough of it to send it skimming off the post.