Oakland Mills girls soccer rallies for playoff win against Hammond

Following three straight winless seasons, Oakland Mills girls soccer earned its ninth victory of the 2018 campaign on Friday night to advance to the 2A South, Section I semifinals.

Tied at two in the final stages against No. 6 seed Hammond, Oakland Mills leading scorer Madison Greenberg netted the game-winning goal off a throw-in from fellow senior Kerry Browne, who jumped on Greenberg’s back after the finish. An even bigger celebration would occur minutes later, as the boys’ team, which won its own playoff game against Glenelg hours before on the same field, joined the girls’ side on the Scorpions’ sideline and formed a mosh pit to commemorate the playoff triumph.

“It’s a testament to my girls,” first-year coach Hassan Mostafa said. “They’ve worked so hard. Just based on the past and everything that has gone on, for them this was an important win for them to really have a chance to step up and prove to people that we can do something here and we’re building something here. I’m just so proud.”

Oakland Mills (9-4) got two goals from Greenberg and a third score off the head of sophomore Yasmine Megdiche off a corner kick in the 63rd minute. Freshman Laura Keister netted both goals for Hammond, which matched its scoring total for the entire season on Friday night. However, the Golden Bears (1-13) could not hold onto a 2-1 second-half lead.

With the win, the No. 3 seed Scorpions advance to play No. 2 seed Wilde Lake on Tuesday night.

“We know that we’re starting something big for the future,” Greenberg said.

For a group of seniors that failed to win a game in each of their first three seasons, this fall was a chance for the Oakland Mills upperclassmen to prove themselves against like competition. Unlike in the past, the Scorpions did not play a full county schedule during the regular season. They kept games with Hammond and Long Reach but filled the rest of their slate with non-league opponents, and the results were more goals, more wins and more confidence as the year progressed.

Friday’s match proved to be another test for the Scorpions, who were on their heels for the first 10 minutes of play and allowed the opening score five or so minutes after that. Keister possessed the ball on the left side with no one challenging her, so the freshman midfielder roped a left-footed shot that sailed past Jordan Navarro (10 saves) and pierced the back of the net.

A 17th-minute goal from Greenberg knotted the score, and neither team could convert any of their other scoring opportunities before the break. But right out of intermission, Keister put the Golden Bears right back on top. She took a dribble towards the top of the box, then another and then another without any Scorpions player stepping to the ball. She then had more than enough space to rocket her attempt right at Navarro, who got her gloves on the attempt but could not prevent it from sailing into goal.

Just like that, Hammond had scored as many goals as it had in its previous 13 games.

“This was our best game of the year,” first-year Golden Bears coach April Motaung said. “We have been working on a lot of tactical things offensively that we haven’t been able to execute most of the year because we’ve been playing teams much higher than our level. And this game, it afforded us the opportunity to really execute the things we’ve been working on in practice.”

Again trailing by a goal, Oakland Mills never panicked. Mostafa told his team before the match that set pieces would impact the contest one way or another, and sure enough, it was a corner kick that swung the momentum in the Scorpions’ favor.

After Megdiche’s header, the Scorpions kept pushing forward and earned a throw-in that they quickly capitalized on. With Hammond still trying to get back into its defensive set, Browne heaved the ball to Greenberg to kick the Scorpions into the next round.

“I’m feeling happy,” Greenberg said, “and ready to play Wilde Lake.”

2A South, Section I quarterfinal

Oakland Mills (9-4) — 3, Hammond (1-13) — 2

Goals: OM — Madison Greenberg 2, Yasmine Megdiche; Ha — Laura Keister 2.

Assists: OM — Kerry Browne, Emily Herrera.

Saves: OM — Jordan Navarro 10; Ha – Brooke Kohlhiem 7.

Halftime: 1-1

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