Hammond's speed and championship-game experience provided the edge, as the Golden Bears won their second state girls soccer title in three years with a 3-1 victory over Columbia rival Wilde Lake in the Class 2A-1A final yesterday at Arundel High School.
Hammond (15-1) had two goals from Kisha Jett in building a 3-0 lead at halftime en route to completing a championship day sweep for Howard County teams. Centennial, also of Columbia (and the only team to defeat Hammond this year), won the Class 4A-3A crown by defeating Dulaney, 4-1, in yesterday's first game.
Wilde Lake (12-4), which dropped a 5-0 decision to Hammond in the regular season, shook its early jitters to dominate the second half. The Wildecats outshot Hammond, 9-4, in the last 40 minutes, but Lindsay Waxler's goal off of a rebound with 26 minutes left was all it had to show for the effort.
"We were a little bit intimidated in the first half," said Wilde Lake coach Rick Wilson. "Some of our key players are sophomores. When you're 15 and you look at Hammond's roster and see two All-Americans [Samantha Andersch and Jackie Reischick], it is very intimidating.
"It's a credit to our girls that they didn't fold. We came out in the second half and beat them -- and that's something we can build on for the future."
However, one of Hammond's younger players had a major role in the physical game. Sophomore back Karen Fink marked senior striker Renita Young, one of Howard County's premier players, and held her scoreless for the second time this season.
"That was a key for us, because we have too many weapons to mark up," Hammond coach Dave Guetler said.
Hammond jumped ahead when Andersch took Kacy Williams' pass from the wing and beat Wildecats keeper Leah Angle from 15 yards out 8 minutes, 36 seconds before halftime. Three minutes later, Jett one-touched Elizabeth Bielefeld's long centering pass to Angle's right.
Just over a minute before halftime, Jett broke loose one-on-one against Angle. Jett drew her out of the net, faked her to her knees with a quick dribble to the right and pounded the ball into the open net.
Wilde Lake's goal came when Waxler controlled a shot rebounding off Hammond keeper Amy Nestor to score from 5 yards away.