Fallston wins 4th straight regional title, tops Wright Goal in each half puts Cougars in state semifinal

November 01, 1996|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

Fallston earned a fourth consecutive regional championship and a berth in Monday's state semifinals at Goucher College, scoring in each half for a 2-0 victory over visiting C. Milton Wright yesterday.

The first goal in yesterday's Class 3A North final raised a question, but not the second.

The opener was a back-handed hit by junior Danielle Marconi with two minutes left in the half. Marconi's shot crossed the line, but the ball was hit out by a defender and kicked by a Fallston player. There was a delayed whistle as the official said he wanted to be sure on the call. Wright goalkeeper Jen Reedy said she thought the whistle had blown before the ball crossed the line.

The second goal, however, was a line drive by junior Carrie Wirth with 8: 27 to play. Off a corner, Katie Stern, playing despite a still-hurting ankle sprain, got the ball out to Wirth at the top of the circle, and she had a clear lane.

"Each time, I just shoot, and on that one, I shot and then saw [the goal] was open," Wirth said.

Fifth-ranked Fallston (13-1-1) had defeated Wright (7-7) in a regular-season meeting, 1-0.

"I couldn't be more proud of my team," said Wright coach Julie Holmes. "We had some opportunities, but we didn't complete them. The game was well-played, and Fallston's open-field passing was excellent."

Credit the Cougars' Wirth, senior Ashley Sweeney and junior Kate Simon for a lot of that. They helped keep the Mustangs in their defensive end much of the time, especially in the first half. Senior Amanda Wheeler was the defensive leader.

Wright's top players included defender Lauren Hocker, who seemed part of every key play, Kim McNamee and Beth Plevyak.

But Fallston out-shot the visitors, 16-8, and had 10 corners to three. Reedy ended with eight saves. Five seniors and four juniors dominate Fallston's lineup, yet the team's unsung hero might well be goalkeeper Ashley Staples.

A freshman who beat out a sophomore for the starting job, she has shown notable progress. She had four saves yesterday and has allowed eight goals all season.

"She has a strong foot and has worked hard," coach Alice Puckett said. "She's been a good learner."

The semifinal scene Monday will be familiar for Fallston, but the Cougars will be out to atone for an upset championship loss last year after having won five straight games at that site.

Over those four seasons, the Cougars have posted a record of 59-2-3, with two Class 2A championships. Last season, their first as a Class 3A school, they lost the state final to Howard County's Centennial, 1-0, with 15 seconds left in the second overtime. This fall, the Cougars lost their opener to Bryn Mawr and tied Liberty.

Pub Date: 11/01/96

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