Dulaney scored the biggest upset of the girls state soccer tournament to date by beating second-seeded Chesapeake-Anne Arundel, 1-0, in the rain-swept Class 4A/3A semifinals last night at Glen Burnie.
Things do not get any easier for the Lions, however. They must face unbeaten Centennial, The Sun's top-ranked team, for the championship Saturday (1 p.m.) at Arundel.
Centennial turned the matchup of No. 1 and No. 2 teams into a mismatch by striking early and then cruising past top-seeded Old Mill, 4-0.
Last night's results guarantee that an Anne Arundel County team will not reign over state big-school soccer for the first time since 1985.
Third-seeded Dulaney (12-2-1) had exceptional play from striker Aimee Vaughn, sweeper Brett Zimmerman and goalie Courtney McClelland in its win, considered surprising because of No. 4 Chesapeake's much stronger schedule.
But if the Lions were in the least bit intimidated, it never showed. Vaughn, a tall sophomore who was eventually marked, led strong pressure from the outset. And Dulaney cashed in when she initiated a sequence from 12 yards in front of Cougars goalkeeper Cindy Herbert.
Vaughn's liner off the back-line defense rebounded to Frances Forcellese, who lofted a 16-yard shot over Herbert at 8 minutes, 11 seconds before halftime.
TTC Chesapeake (12-2-1) attacked constantly via wings Kim Davis and Becky Thiele but had very few real chances as the Zimmerman-led defense successfully clogged the middle.
"We told our players to tighten up in the middle when their forwards got close. We wanted to contain the ball on the sidelines until help got back," said Lions coach Evey Quinn.
"Otherwise, we didn't know anything about Chesapeake. We just wanted to come in and play the game we've practiced all season," she said.
Chesapeake matched Dulaney in shots, 12-12, but came close to scoring only twice. McClelland, who displayed excellent position defense, smothered Stacey Necessary's point-blank shot with just over 18 minutes to play.
With 56 seconds left, she dove to cover Nancy Yeager's dangerous, looping cross as two Cougars waited to tap the ball home.
Centennial (15-0), fourth-seeded because of the non-4A teams it plays, took the strong wind in hope of an early goal. "We wanted to jump on them and hurt them psychologically. I guess we did," said Eagles coach Rick Pizarro.
At just 3 minutes, 15 seconds, halfback Alison Lages struck on a slow roller that barely eluded Old Mill (14-1) goalkeeper Jackie Bardelli and sweeper Lori Lynch.