ROCKVILLE -- Senior standout Tony Reightler provided the North Carroll Panthers with yet another shining moment on a fine individual effort for a tying goal in the first half.
But the rest of last night's Class 3A West Region semifinal belonged to talented Walter Johnson, which simply had too much skill and speed for the Panthers.
Senior midfielder Dave Marquardt led the way for the Wildcats, scoring three goals in the 4-2 win.
Walter Johnson (13-1-1) advances to meet Central Maryland Conference champ Linganore -- a 2-1 winner over Churchill in last night's opener -- in Wednesday's region final at Sherwood.
North Carroll closed out a solid season under second-year coach Denny Snyder with a 8-4-1 mark. The Panthers gave Carroll County champ Liberty all it could handle before falling to the Lions in overtime in a late regular-season game for first place. They also opened the postseason with a 2-1 win over CMC foe Thomas Johnson before last night's setback.
"I'm proud of the way we came out and played hard tonight. We ran into a very good soccer team that worked their triangles, were constantly moving without the ball and communicated very well," said Snyder.
The Wildcats were in control from the start, taking a 1-0 lead six minutes in when Marquardt side-stepped a Panther defender before beating goalie Justin Malbrough for the first of his three goals on the night.
As has been the case all season long, Reightler gave the Panthers a chance when he tied the game, 1-1, with a goal midway through the first half.
He dribbled past a couple defenders along the left side before left-footing a shot to the far post from 20 yards out. Late in the second half with the Wildcats leading 4-1, Reightler fittingly closed out the scoring with his 20th goal of the season to go along with six assists.
"They passed the ball around us and beat us to the ball. They were tough," Reightler said. "We did a great job this season with TC five sophomores. The whole team played with a lot of heart -- that's what got us here."
Walter Johnson was quick to answer Reightler's tying goal in the first half. Four minutes later, sophomore Steve Seiden appeared to be trying to cross the ball from the left side, but it found the right corner of the Panther goal.
Marquardt went back to work late in the half, collecting a through pass from senior Dan Calderone before finding the near post from 10 yards out. His third goal made it 4-1 early in the second half.