Playing defense for the Sparrows Point girls soccer team, senior outside back Danielle Zacierka doesn’t make too many offensive runs, and rarely against a good team like Perry Hall.
But in Tuesday’s Baltimore County championship game against the Gators, she found space in overtime and went for it.
Fitting for the game situation — tightly marked throughout — her first shot was blocked by defender Ashlee Wilsynski. When the rebound came back to her, she made it count.
The goal, coming with 2:55 left in the first 10-minute overtime, provided the No. 4 Pointers with a 1-0 win over the No. 8 Gators at CCBC-Catonsville.
It’s the fourth Baltimore County crown in the past five years for Sparrows Point, the five-time defending Class 1A state champions. The Pointers improved to 12-0, while Perry Hall fell to 12-3.
“Everybody started cheering — I didn’t even know it went in until I looked up,” said Zacierka, whose only other goal of the season came against Patapsco. “I was so happy because normally our offensive players, Sammie [Bennett] or Jasmine [Pinter], score and I was really trying to give them an opportunity. But I don’t know, I was just so overwhelmed, I just started crying because everyone was cheering. It was crazy and unbelievable.”
The teams played a back-and-forth game during the regular season Sept. 17, with the Pointers getting an overtime goal from Pinter to earn a 4-3 win.
On Tuesday, they seemingly picked up right where they left off with good pace from both teams, minus the goals this time.
Both teams had to earn their chances, with Pinter providing most of the Pointers’ offense and Gators goalkeeper Lauren Gwin up to the challenge. Two of the area’s finest midfielders — Sparrows Point All-Metro Player of the Year Julie Lynch and Perry Hall’s All-Metro senior Phoebe Canoles — took turns shining in the middle of the field.
For the Gators, senior defender Annie Kim had the team’s best chance, just missing from 18 yards late in the first half.
“That’s a game that really comes down to who’s going to get that one opportunity, and they got it. Kudos to them for working hard for it. I thought we worked equally as hard and it was kind of a war of attrition. Somebody is going to get the opportunity and somebody is going to finish it and at this level, that’s what it comes down to,” Perry Hall coach Matt Smoot said.
Sparrows Point earned the top seed in the North region and receives a bye in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Pointers will return to action Nov. 2 when they host the Loch Raven-Western Tech winner.
Perry Hall earned a first-round bye as the top seed in the Class 4A North region, set to take on the Catonsville-Howard winner Oct. 30.
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Goals: SP — Zacierka. Saves: PH — Gwin 7; SP — Foos 5. Half: 0-0