Panthers advance to state title game Shearer's goal lifts North Carroll to 1-0 victory over Bel Air

Class 3A girls soccer

November 15, 1998|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

SANDY SPRING -- For the third time in the last four games, North Carroll carved out a 1-0 victory, and this time it sent them to the state Class 3A championship game.

At Sherwood High School last night, the Panthers (11-5-2) scored in the third minute of the second half and made it stand up for a decision over Bel Air (15-2-2).

North Carroll now moves on to play Leonardtown (16-2) for the state championship Saturday at North County High School.

Before last night's game, Bel Air coach Bill Zimmerman, a 13-year veteran, had cautioned his players about Amy Bromwell and her long throw-ins. They had won several earlier games that way, and she got another one here.

Two minutes into the second half, Bromwell, a sophomore, had a throw-in that eluded a Bel Air defender and wound up on the foot of Danielle Shearer who put the ball just inside the left post and just out of reach of a diving Lindsay Bugda.

Backed by 13 shutouts, this was only the seventh goal the senior had allowed.

"You can't punch it [the ball] out; you have to keep it away from her," Zimmerman said. "I thought we outplayed them about two-thirds of the game, but we gave her the ball. We needed to cover."

Of her play, Bromwell said, "I was focused on helping control the middle and on my throw-ins. And when Stephanie [Rogers] dropped back to help in the second half, it was a boost because it gave us another defender."

Excited North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald could only say, "I can't say enough about her throw-ins. She's not just walking up there. She's putting her heart into it, along with her physical and mental determination."

It turned out to be a great night for Shearer, whose goal was her seventh, and Rogers -- North Carroll's senior leaders -- but the Panthers also got solid play up and down the line in a team effort.

It was a particularly satisfying effort for North Carroll's junior goalkeeper, Beth Reeb.

She had been replaced in the second half of the regional final against Thomas Johnson, but shrugged off the bad game game and came back to practice the next day ready to work.

"If you substitute any place else, it's no big deal, but if you sub for the goalie, it's a big deal," MacDonald said.

There was never any doubt about her starting last night, and she came through with an outstanding effort, coming up big with some clutch saves. She and Bugda each ended with seven saves, and North Carroll had the edge on shots, 10-8.

"We weren't very happy that Saturday in September when Bel Air beat us [2-1 on two penalty kicks], but they have an impressive record," MacDonald said.

"I think we're in the toughest region, and beating the likes of South Carroll, Walter Johnson, and Thomas Johnson prepared us for tonight."

Each team had been to the state semifinals once before, and each lost to the eventual champion -- North Carroll to Hammond in 1991, and Bel Air to South River in 1996.

This season, Bel Air lost its opener to Mercy, tied Sparrows Point, and won nine in a row before tying Parkville. Two more wins followed, as the Bobcats clinched the Harford County title.

In its regional, Bel Air outscored four foes, 15-1, with three shutouts.

South Carroll went 7-5-2 during its regular season, sharing the Carroll County title with South Carroll.

In its regional, the Panthers squeezed out three one-goal decisions, including 3-2 over Thomas Johnson, the Central tTC Maryland Conference winner and a defending state champion.

Pub Date: 11/15/98

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