The Fallston girls soccer team was playing for something more than a Class 2A state championship against Winters Mill on Saturday at UMBC.
The Cougars had dedicated the game to Vernon Brown III, a former coach and teacher who died of cancer Nov. 13 at age 37.
Tied at 1 after 100 minutes, the teams went to a penalty-kick shootout to decide the winner. Sydney Blomquist, the Cougars' seventh shooter, confidently knocked the ball into the corner of the goal. Fallston captured its first state championship since 1996 and third overall, winning, 2-1, by virtue of a 5-4 advantage in the shootout.
"He coached the girls for 10 years, and I was his assistant," Fallston coach Alyson Cammann said of Brown. "He was dedicated to not only the school, but to our soccer program. He was a wonderful man and a wonderful role model for the kids. We wanted to do this for him."
The Cougars wore T-shirts bearing Brown's name under their jerseys.
It was the first loss since Sept. 21 for the Falcons (12-4-1), who entered the game with a 13-game unbeaten streak.
Winters Mill midfielder Jenna Utz went down with an apparent knee injury near the end of the first overtime and had to be carried from the field.
"It's disappointing," Winters Mill coach Andy Hicks said. "We missed a couple of chances, but that's the game. It's unfortunate."
Both teams were efficient in the shootout, with each converting its first three chances. They then traded misses, which set up Blomquist's game-winner.
"Coach just asked me if I was confident, and I knew I would make it," Blomquist said. "I put it into the back of the net."
Winters Mill was effective early on, attacking through the middle of the field, and created several dangerous chances in the opening minutes. Carolyn Smith knocked in a loose ball in the 10th minute from about 15 yards for a 1-0 lead.
Fallston (12-5) controlled the game in the closing minutes of the first half. The Cougars kept up the pressure in the second half and were rewarded midway through when Amanda Ballard scored off Katy Barry's corner kick.
Goals: W-Smith ; F-Ballard. Assist: F-Barry . Saves: W-McMunn 5; F-Baldwin 4. Half: W, 1-0.