Girls Soccer: Manchester Valley falls short in Class 3A West final

Pat Stoetzer
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

Losing in Wednesday’s Class 3A West Region final wasn’t how Briana Bush and her Manchester Valley girls soccer teammates wanted their season to end.

The result, a 3-0 setback against Thomas Johnson, didn’t matter as much to the Mavericks as the sobering feeling of finality.

“It definitely means a lot,” said senior Briana Bush. “We came from such a bad record to where we are now. And it really just proves that working together as a team and coming together when it counts really brings us this far.

“We’re not just a team, we’re family.”

Bush’s voice cracked a bit when she spoke — Bush finished the fall as Man Valley’s leading scorer, and she’s one of seven seniors who played their final high school game.

The Mavericks (6-11) rolled into Wednesday’s game, which was relocated to Linganore High to use an artificial turf field, feeling happy to have a chance at winning a regional title. Thomas Johnson proved too much, however, led by midfielder Sara Hohn.

The senior netted three goals in the first half and all but single-handedly decided things after the first 40 minutes.

The Mavs had a golden chance to cut TJ’s lead to 2-1 with about 18:30 remaining in the half, when midfielder Abby Zeigenfuse got her foot on a ball that initially bounced around inside the box. Zeigenfuse let loose from close range, but Pats goalie Alayna Burgamy came up with a nifty one-handed slap save to preserve the shutout.

Hohn’s third goal came unassisted with 8:31 to go in the half after she forged a path through some defenders and into open space inside the box.

Manchester Valley held the Patriots scoreless in the second half, and junior goalie Jenna Hollingshead made some big saves along the way.

She thwarted TJ’s Elaina Kluttz with about 12 minutes to go with a diving stop after a Patriots rush, and posted 15 saves for the game.

Thomas Johnson beat Man Valley 5-0 in mid-October on a nasty night, weather wise, and Mavs coach Denise Hoff said her players worked on new defensive formations to change their approach should the teams meet again come playoff time.

Man Valley forced the rematch with three postseason victories, highlighted by a thrilling road win last Thursday over county rival Westminster in penalty kicks.

Bush said that win (5-4 in PKs) gave the Mavs plenty of momentum heading into the 3A West final. Thomas Johnson took it from there, however, and clinched its first regional championship in eight years.

Manchester Valley was looking for its first title since 2015, the end of a remarkable run that saw the Mavs win two state crowns (2011, 2012) and make five consecutive trips to the final four.

Victories were tougher to come by this fall, but Hoff said the team went into late October playing its best soccer.

“I just told them, we peaked at the right time of the season,” Hoff said after the game. “And we’ve come so far from that first couple of games until now. They worked their butts off.”

Goals: TJ-Sara Hohn 3.

Assists: TJ-Genesis Guevara, Elaina Kluttz.

Saves: MV-15 (Jenna Hollingshead); TJ-5 (Alayna Burgamy).

Halftime: TJ, 3-0.

pat.stoetzer@carrollcountytimes.com

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