Even though Joppatowne's girls beat Fallston, 3-2, in Monday's regular season soccer finale, the archrivals could meet again in the playoffs.
When the regional playoffs begin Tuesday, Joppatowne and Fallston will have berths. If both win their opening-round games, they could meet for the regional championship.
Meeting in the regular season and then again in the playoffs is nothing new for these two teams.
"Last year, we took 'em twice, so this year we probably have to do the same thing," said Joppatowne senior Chrissy Maly. "But we can do it. We had a great team effort tonight."
The Mariners should be seeded No. 2 in Class 1A/2A, Region III. They are expected to play host to No. 3 North Harford Tuesday. Fourth-seeded Fallston probably will travel to meet top-seeded Loch Raven.
The seedings should be determined by today.
The Mariners (9-3 overall, 7-1 league) are savoring Monday night's victory at Fallston. The win gave Joppatowne a piece of the county championship. Although they won it outright last year, the Mariners had to share this year's title with C. Milton Wright, who beat them earlier in the season.
Against Fallston Monday, the Mariners outshot the Cougars, 20-11,as they dominated the game, especially early on.
The Cougars (5-6, 5-2) played so much defense trying to stop the Mariners' potent attack that they showed little offense in the first half. That helped the Mariners take a 2-0 first-half lead.
Thori Staples scored both goals, the first on a feed from Amy Knepp and the second from Brandi Fredrick.
Fallston was most worried about Staples, whose speed and skills are among the best in the county. Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson assigned speedy freshman Joanna Rocchio to dog Staples' every move.
But Staples was too much for even a couple of Cougars to stop. "Give her six inches and it's showtime," said Ferguson.
Staples' blazing speed set her up one-on-one with Fallston keeper Susie Harrison (8 saves) numerous times. And if she was close, she scored. Staples also tried to set up her teammates with some perfect lead passes and crossing passes. Fallston's defense, led by Cindy Jenkins and Jenny Colt, upset those attempts.
Joppatowne's team is more than just Staples. Center halfback Cheryl Ulrich and sweeper Missy Reichard dominated play up and down the middle of the field with
Staples, and thatkept Fallston from mounting much offense early on.
"When you've got to mark up Staples in the middle you lose some support. Everythingyou're playing comes back down the middle," said Ferguson.
"I told them (at halftime) that we only needed two goals to get in the game, three to win. They weren't going to the ball in the first half. Theattack people were letting the defenders step between them and take the ball."
The Cougars made the right adjustments in the second half, and they turned the momentum in their favor.
Two minutes into the half, Laura Rocchio scored on a give-and-go from Denise Sarver toput the Cougars back in the game.
"There's a little bit of a letdown when you come out with a 2-0 lead," said Joppatowne coach Dwayne Noe. "And Fallston came out very aggressive. We played such an aggressive first half, that there's always a bit of a letdown after a half like that."
But Fallston's celebration only lasted 32 seconds. Staples showed some fancy footwork as she scored an unassisted goal to put the Mariners up 3-1 with 37 minutes, 35 seconds to go.
Fallstonscored its final goal with 32:51 left in the game. After Joppatowne keeper Jessie Giordano (10 saves) appeared to smother a shot, the ball popped loose. Jeanna Penn tapped it to Jenny Weber for the goal.