A pair of county soccer teams captured regional championships and advanced to the state tournament with some clutch individual performances Saturday.
North Carroll's Ashlee Douglas scored two first-half goals, and goalie Jenny Heindel led the defense, as the Panthers recorded their fourth consecutive shutout, 2-0, over Towson to claim the Class 1A/2A Region II girls crown.
Chad Norfolk scored on a penalty kick with 11 minutes remaining in the match, lifting Liberty past North Carroll, 2-1, to win the boysClass 2A Region I title.
The championships marked the first region title for any county girls soccer team and the Lions' first boys region title.
Douglas, who also scored two goals in her last outing (against Liberty in the region semifinals), brought her total to 15 on the year.
"Ashlee's coming up with the big goals, but it's been a total team effort, and the midfield and other forwards have done a great job setting her up," North Carroll coach Phil Myers said.
"We're not a one-dimensional team. We have other people who can put theball in the net, but as long as Ashlee keeps it up, we'll be elated."
With a 2-0 halftime lead, the defense did the rest for the Panthers, thwarting a relentless Towson attack for North Carroll's eighth shutout of the season.
The Panther defense has been stingy. Heindel turned back 13 shots by Baltimore County players with the support of defenders Michelle Jeffery, Heather Martin, Francine Hewes, Tammy Giffi and Kara Tedder.
"Four of the five played together on junior varsity last year, and they were very strong," Myers said. "But that's a different level than varsity, and we weren't sure how strong theywould be.
"They've really played well. In the last eight games, we've only given up two goals."
The Liberty-North Carroll boys' match came down to the wire. The Lions took advantage of a Panther handball violation in the box, resulting in a penalty kick that Norfolk buried.
"We didn't play to the best of our ability and didn't stick to our game plan," Liberty coach Lee Kestler said.
"North Carroll gave us a lot of pressure and took us out of our rhythm. It was a very tough, hard-played match."
Darryk Modracek scrambled for a looseball in front of the Panther net and sent it past North Carroll goalie Scott Reaver to give the Lions a 1-0 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the first half.
North Carroll tied it with a penalty kick after Gary Burrows was tripped in the box with 15 minutes remaining in the second half. Burrows finished the season with 14 goals.
Norfolk got his chance four minutes later, when the Panthers were whistled for their second handball in the box of the game.
The Lions failed to convert on a first-half penalty kick, but Norfolk buried the second.
The Liberty boys meet Rockville of Montgomery County in Friday's 5 p.m. state semifinals at Catonsville Community College in Baltimore County. The North Carroll girls will face Hammond of Howard County in Friday's 5:30 p.m. state semifinal action at Liberty High in Eldersburg.