Hereford frustrated, as Glenelg turns back championship bid, 2-1 Bulls manage 16 shots, but only Mueller finds net

Class 1A-2A girls soccer

November 16, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Until last night, Hereford striker Melissa Mueller and Glenelg goalie Jamie Epperlein had squared off only in practice.

For the Columbia Magic club teammates, last night's state Class 1A-2A championship game was their first as opponents. Mueller did score a goal, but Epperlein made a few more sensational plays to lead Glenelg to a 2-1 victory and its first state title at Dundalk Community College.

The Gladiators (8-7-4) dealt the Baltimore County champs their first loss of the season and denied them their first state championship. The No. 14-ranked Bulls (13-1-3) have been to the title game twice in three years.

Epperlein, who said last week that she couldn't wait to face Mueller, made several terrific plays against her club teammate. "I knew she'd be a challenge," said Epperlein who had 11 saves -- eight in the first half and several terrific ones in the second.

"I wanted to see what I could do against her in a game situation," said Mueller. "I was ready for her, but she played an outstanding game."

By the time Mueller put one past Epperlein, the Bulls already trailed, 1-0. Melissa Wilder gave the Gladiators the lead in the ninth minute. She carried a through ball from Kelly Renfro to the right corner of the box and fired a rocket inside the far post.

The Bulls had trailed only twice before -- against Franklin in a regular-season tie and against Oakland Mills in Monday's state semifinal. Mueller and Katie Sonnefeld scored in the final 13 minutes to beat Oakland Mills, 2-1.

"Missy came off at halftime," said Hereford coach Steve Power, "and she says, 'It's deja vu. We're going to win, 2-1. We're going to score and were going to score again.' "

Epperlein didn't let it happen. She reached out to make a point-blank save against Brooke Levine early in the second half. Mueller finally tied it in the 59th minute heading in a cross from Heather Bell.

"It was a real high cross," said Epperlein. "I kind of hesitated. I should have punched it away from her, but I was waiting for the shot. It was beautiful placement on her part. I had a hand on it, but it went right by me."

Nothing else did. The junior keeper rushed out to smother a Mueller break with 13 minutes left in the game and then watched Heather Bell nail a long ball off the crossbar a few minutes later.

The Bulls outshot Glenelg 16-5 and allowed only one second-half shot, but that was enough.

Christa Vent scored the game-winner with a little more than nine minutes to go. She put a no-angle shot from the right across in front of Hereford keeper Lauren Rice.

"Their long switches to their right side gave us all sorts of problems," Power said. "[Vent] ran through the middle and beat the stopper. We talked about pushing girls with the ball to the side. She pushed her out there and the girl snuck it in the corner."

Once the Gladiators had the lead, they double-teamed Mueller and she didn't get another chance.

"If anybody was going to beat us it would be her," said Glenelg coach Mike Williams. "She's a great player. She created innumerable opportunities for them that Jamie just didn't let in.

"I know exactly how coach Power feels," said Williams. "I've been on the other end where you feel you outshot and outplayed the other team and you didn't come out with it, but that's soccer."

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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