The Oakland Mills season has come almost full circle, but the Scorpions are hoping the ending is different than the beginning.
The Scorpion girls soccer team began the season losing to Severna Park, 2-1. And this Saturday they will play Severna Park for the state Class 3A/4A championship.
Oakland Mills earned the finals Monday by beating Old Mill, 4-2, at Chesapeake High in Anne Arundel County.
It was their 13th straight win after opening the year with two losses.
Mia Dammen (11 goals) scored twice and Stefanie Magro (14 goals) and Anne Fuller each scored once to lead the offense.
"We've had pressure on us all year because of our slow start, and because everybody wants to beat Oakland Mills," Dammen said.
Amy Nicholas, Christine Copeland and Bridget Roberts led the defense.
"Nicholas played very well tonight, even after she moved from outside to inside fullback," Scorpion coach Cindy Odell said.
Both teams played a physical game, and there were several injuries, including torn knee ligaments for Scorpion senior fullback Kim Gove in the second half.
"Old Mill (11-4) was fast, athletic and physical, and I think were a much different team from the one we scrimmaged in pre-season," Odell said.
"They did the best marking job on Mia (Dammen) that I saw all year."
Dammen was marked so well by Amy Tolley that Odell decided to move her from midfield to forward for the second half.
That move gave Magro more room to operate at midfield for Oakland Mills, and she played a great second half, getting the game-winning goal on a header off Courtney Pierce's corner kick.
"That was a picture-perfect goal," Odell said. "I brought Courtney up from junior varsity because she is so good on corners."
Oakland Mills, a slow-starting team all season, tried to get out fast against Old Mill, forcing Patriot goalie Jackie Bardelli to make five saves in the first 24 minutes.
But it was Old Mill that scored first in the 27th minute on a 20-yard kick by Teri Lee off an assist by Vanessa Lincoln. Lee shot between two defenders who failed to aggressively go after her.
Eleven minutes later, Dammen banged a short pass from Tricia Witte past Bardelli from five yards out and it was tied, 1-1.
Old Mill nearly regained the lead in the 46th minute, when freshman Michelle Salmon kicked a hard shot that bounced off the crossbar.
Bridget Roberts marked Salmon and managed to contain her most of the game, but it was no easy chore. Salmon appears to be a future superstar.
In the 52nd minute, Dammen almost scored again when her corner kick hit the bar. Oakland Mills tried to follow but the ball was cleared away.
Magro finally put Oakland Mills up 2-1 with her header off the corner kick by Pierce in the 55th minute.
Oakland Mills goalie Jenny Golding made saves in the 58th, 63rd and 64th minutes as Old Mill tried to rally.
Finally, junior midfielder Anne Fuller scored the clinching goal in the 68th minute, banging a direct kick from Dammen into the net from close range and making the score 3-1.
Old Mill still refused to fold, and closed the gap when Salmon scored with 1 minute, 26 seconds left. It was a rebound shot off a long cross by Lee that first hit the post and then caromed off Golding.
Dammen settled a pass from Kristin Miller just 13 seconds later, however, and kicked a 12-yarder in for the final 4-2 score.
"The team has worked very hard to get this far," Odell said. "We've had six come-from-behind wins and that says a lot about them."