Harford Tech girls take UCBAC soccer championship

Harford Tech won its first Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference girls soccer championship Tuesday evening, beating perennial UCBAC powerhouse, C. Milton Wright, 1-0, at Bel Air High School.

The Cobras (10-2-3) are the first team in the history of the UCBAC to win the girls soccer title as the Susquehanna Division (or lower division) champion. CMW, champion of the Chesapeake Division (upper), was seeking its eighth title in as many tries, having won seven previous titles since 2004. The Mustangs had won the last four titles.

The game's only goal came in the second half with 23:59 to play. Tech junior Kersten O'Brien made a number of individual moves to get herself into position for a cross to the front of the CMW goal.

"It's just like every other game, you gotta work hard and make opportunities for yourself and rely on your teammates to be there," O'Brien said.

O'Brien did work hard and created the opportunity, which provided her the ability to send the cross that found the foot of fellow junior, Shannon Conlon, who calmly slid a low shot into the CMW goal.

"I was just hoping that it was going to work, we do it all the time," Conlon said. "It works every time and it happened tonight."

Nine minutes before that, CMW had one of its better scoring opportunities, but Megan Pavlitsa's cross was headed over the goal by Alyssa Austen.

The Mustangs (11-3) had a number of other chances the rest of the second half, but shots were either high and or wide, knocked down by Tech defenders or not taken at all. Tech defenders Megan Doleschal, Julianna Kuessner, Tori Arcilesi and Emily Doleschal spearheaded the Cobras defensive effort.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we ended up coming out on top and C. Milton Wright really had a good game too," Conlon said.

O'Brien nearly put the Cobras on top just seven minutes into the game, but her blistering shot sailed just high between the soccer goal cross bar and the football upright.

"I honestly didn't, I thought that they were going to come out really strong and we just caught em off and I don't think they were prepared for what we had," O'Brien said, in reference to the number of chances she and her teammates received. "We've been working hard all season and we worked for this moment."

While O'Brien's shot was a near miss, CMW also had its near miss when Angela Kuhn saw her shot also sail high over the Tech goal, midway through the first half.

"This is what we prepared for all season, besides going to states. We just came out and we were prepared, we worked hard all week and last week and we were ready," O'Brien said.

Tech goalie Julie Ransone earned the shutout, making nine saves and CMW keeper Stacy Venanzi finished with three saves.

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