A fourth straight appearance in the Class 1A girls soccer state final was not in the cards for the Patterson Mill Huskies.
Smithsburg (10-4-5) sophomore Taylor Mackrell scored with :31 left in regulation time Saturday to lift the Leopards over the Huskies, 2-1, in state semifinal play at Northeast-Anne Arundel High School in Pasadena.
The loss ends a three-year run for the Huskies into the 1A title game, where the Huskies fell to Sparrows Point each time.
Fallston, meanwhile, lost in the state semifinals for a third straight year. The Cougars (9-6-1) lost 1-0, losing in a shootout (5-3) to Walkersville in 2A action played at River Hill High School.
The Huskies had a little trouble with Smithsburg throughout the first half. "We have been for the past couple of games, played some teams, that aren’t that quality a team and it was a little bit easier for us to get it done,” Huskies coach Mike Parker said. “We still said, look, you still got to focus on that.You have to play the ball quick, work the ball down the field. The thought was there today, the execution wasn't what we would have liked, especially there in the first half.”
The Leopards took advantage and with 14:22 left in the first half, Stephanie Lewis scored to put the Leopards on top.
Patterson Mill, meanwhile, just couldn’t put much together. Their scoring chances were at a true minimum.
The Huskies (13-5-1) played better in the second half, but the scoring chances are still not there. With 8:41 to play, though, there was a change.
The Huskies put a few passes together, the last from freshman Jessica Conklin to Taylor Shultz, a junior midfielder.
Shultz took the feed entering the 18-yard box. With a defender closing and goalie Ryleigh McKinnon coming off her line, Shultz hit a low shot into the far corner for the tie goal. “When we tied it we thought we would get momentum back and take the game back, but it just didn’t work out that way today,” Shultz said.
The Huskies applied more pressure over the remaining eight minutes, but another goal wasn’t found. Shultz had another good look with 1:00 left, but the shot was right at goalie McKinnon.
It was :29 second later when the unthinkable happened. Kara Poole took the ball down the right sideline and into the box.
Poole did some footwork to get in position to deliver a cross. The ball, a low pass, found the foot of a Smithsburg player, who misfired on her shot, but the ball calmly rolled right to the foot of Mackrell.
Mackrell did not misfire, rather, she blasted the ball into the back of net to put the Leopards in the win column.
“I thought we would get it back and use the momentum to score again, but it just didn't happen today,” Shultz said. "Soccer's just about opportunities and they had two and finished and we had way more and just couldn't put the ball in.”
Huskies goalie Marie Claire Cecenia finished with three saves, while Leopards keeper McKinnon had five saves.
In Fallston’s loss, Cougars coach Carlee Chatterton said, “We had plenty of chances on corners in the first and second halves and both overtimes, but couldn’t get it in the net. We played well and handled the ball well but fell short.”
Elyssa Emmett, Bekah Taylor and Macy Bogdan all made their shots in the shootout, but Walkersville was a perfect 5-for-5 to win.
“Our girls got further than most anticipated this season, which I am very proud of,” Chatterton said. “Our fairly young roster was able to keep up with the best in the state which makes me even more excited for next season.”
Reach Randy McRoberts on twitter. @aegissports