Wilde Lake wasn't considered a potential state Class 2A finalist when the season began.
Come Saturday at noon, however, the Wildecats (8-5-3) will be at Old Mill playing in their third state final in five seasons. No. 15 Wilde Lake, winners of six state titles, won a Class 1A title in 1991 but lost in 1993.
Yesterday at Lansdowne High School, the Wildecats completed the final 23 minutes, 13 seconds of the state semifinal against Parkside (7-9) of Wicomico County, a 1-0 victory that began Saturday at South Hagerstown High School.
"It wasn't a beauty but we'll take it," Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt said. "Conditions like this game was played in really hurt a technical team. I never played in conditions like we had Saturday."
Weather conditions forced the postponement of Saturday's game to yesterday with the Wildecats leading, 1-0.
David Briefel (10 goals, six assists) scored the only goal in the 16th minute at Hagerstown on a direct kick from 30 yards out. His left-footed volley landed in the left corner of the net at the near post.
Both teams had several scoring opportunities thwarted yesterday. Parkside goalkeeper Scott Roberts (13 saves) and Wilde Lake goalkeeper Nick Parypinski (six saves) both came up big on the muddy Lansdowne field.
"Parkside was a hard-playing team that forced us to play our best," Briefel said. "It was a hard situation for them today to have to come so far and be trailing. Our plan was to attack as much as possible, and we did. Their goalkeeper just made good saves."
"The weather Saturday was a huge factor and took both teams out of their games. We like to knock it on the ground and couldn't," Briefel said.
After entering the playoffs with a losing record, Wilde Lake has won four straight, including victories over Surrattsville, Oakland Mills and Glenelg. Parkside had shut out its three previous playoff opponents, Poly, Northeast-AA and North Caroline.
Parkside coach Andy Hall thought the game never should have been started Saturday. His team had the wind against it in the first half.
"Wilde Lake has a nice club, but this was one of my weakest teams," Hall said. "We were surprised to get this far. Neither team had a chance to show what it could do because of field conditions. I'd love to play them on a dry field."
3' Wilde Lake outshot Parkside, 23-10.