After 100 minutes of evenly played boys soccer in Tuesday night's District V championship, the difference between No. 1 Wilde Lake and No. 2 Arundel was fingertips.
They belonged to Wilde Lake senior goalie Daniel Evans, who alertly turned away a penalty kick from Arundel senior Billy Fowler to secure the championship at Meade High.
After the teams played to a tie at 1 through overtime, Wilde Lake got goals from Kendrick Pacchioni, Zachary Johnson and Matt Flyr to take a 3-2 advantage going into the fifth and final attempt in the penalty-kick shootout. Evans was aiming to stay focused and make a difference, and he did just that as the Howard County champions proved to be a tad better than their Anne Arundel counterparts.
"It was unbelievable. After two overtimes, just to get back in there and get the game-winning save was unbelievable," Evans said. "It's definitely going to carry us throughout the playoffs with the momentum we currently have. I really feel like we're going to win a state championship this year."
With Wilde Lake in Class 3A and Arundel in Class 4A, the teams won't be playing each other again this season. But Tuesday night's game served as valuable preparation for the playoffs, set to start this week.
Wilde Lake (13-0-2) opened the scoring late in the first half when sophomore midfielder Luke Verdi volleyed home a chance from 12 yards.
Arundel (11-1-3) remained persistent in the second half and tied the score when senior forward Mike Kovach scored from 30-plus yards on a set kick. Arundel's goals in the shootout came from Corbin McCarron Cody Madison.
Freshman midfielder Abby Thomas provided the offense early — scoring seven minutes into the game — and No. 5 Severna Park stayed tidy throughout to protect the lead and come away with a 1-0 win over No. 6 Marriotts Ridge and the District V title.
The Falcons, Anne Arundel County champions, take a 12-0-3 mark in the regional playoffs, while the Howard County-champion Mustangs fall to 12-2-2.
Relentless work from senior forward Marisa Kresge set up Thomas' goal. She ran onto a ball in the right corner and sent a cross to the middle that bounced around before finding Thomas in front for the easy goal.
"This a great win for the girls," Severna Park coach Todd Clark said. "It's been a struggle all season — we've been dealing with injuries … we've had nine different backs — so I think the girls have come to recognize that it doesn't matter who is on the field, if we play as a team we can win."
The Falcons, who also captured last year's District V title, possessed the ball well and played tight defense to protect the lead. The Mustangs' best chance to tie came with 13 minutes to play when Maxine Brewer's long throw-in was deflected past goalie Alex Carey and headed for the far corner before defender Olivia Holloway alertly cleared it away.
DISTRICT V CHAMPIONSHIPS
(at Meade High)
1 Wilde Lake 1, 2 Arundel 1 (WL wins on penalty kicks, 3-2)
Goals: WL—Verdi; A—Kovach. Assists: A—Lenz. Saves: WL—Evans 4; A—Bagley 3. Half: WL, 1-0.
5 Severna Park 1, 6 Marriotts Ridge 0
Goals: SP—Thomas. Saves: MR—Mumby 2; SP—Cavey 5. Half: SP, 1-0.