S. River sails past Bel Air, into final Seahawks continue their emotional ride by defeating Bobcats, 2-1

Girls soccer

November 12, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

A speedy South River girls soccer team continued to ride a wave of emotions through the state Class 3A-2A tournament last night and are now one victory from completing a mission the Seahawks mapped out back in August.

South River came storming back from a 1-0 deficit in the second half against a scrappy Bel Air squad and picked up a 2-1 victory in the Class 3A-2A semifinals played in bitter conditions at Howard High last night.

Junior forward Shannon Simmons and sophomore midfielder JTC Jess DuVall scored back-to-back goals in a little more than seven minutes to lift South River into the state finals.

A tremendous individual play by senior forward Theresa Beckett set up what proved to be the winning goal by DuVall with eight minutes remaining in the game.

Beckett beat three Bel Air defenders down the right sideline with her speed and crossed the ball to DuVall for the score from six yards out.

The No. 8 Seahawks (13-1-2) can complete their state championship quest Saturday with a win over No. 5 Liberty (15-0-2) at Dundalk Community College at noon.

It all began in August for South River when the team decided to dedicate the season to teammate Cortney Belt, who died in an accident last summer.

A 5-foot-by-2 1/2 -foot picture of Belt is placed on a fence behind the South River bench before every game.

The players also adopted a catchy little slogan in August that they have carried with them all the way to the state finals.

"Losing stinks and we smell good," said midfielder Katie Wilhelm. "That is our slogan and we've rallied around it and Cortney all year long. We're even going to get shirts made up with those words on it."

South River coach Will Pharr said the Seahawks also have another important ingredient that enabled them to strike back quickly last night after Lauren Hess had given Bel Air a 1-0 lead with a goal with 15: 38 left in the game.

"These girls have heart and want to come out here and play soccer," said Pharr. "That is something you can't coach. Without heart, we would have never been able to accomplish all we have."

It would have been easy for South River to pack it in after Hess broke free behind the entire Seahawks defense and dribbled in for a goal against goalkeeper Erin Graham.

"We just had a big defensive breakdown on that goal," said Pharr.

But Simmons came right back 30 seconds later to tie the game at 1, scoring out of a pack of players in front of the net.

"It's the first time I've ever flicked the ball in the goal," said Simmons.

Pub Date: 11/12/96

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