FREDERICK -- The North Carroll scoring express derailed last night as Thomas Johnson defeated the visiting Panthers in a sudden-death, penalty-kick shootout, 7-6, in the Class 3A West Regional girls soccer final.
Each team scored a goal in regulation, but went scoreless in two 10-minute overtime periods. With the shootout tied at 5, Thomas Johnson junior striker Mollie Merkel kicked a shot into the right corner to give the Patriots a 6-5 lead in the shootout.
After Panthers freshman midfielder Heather Tomko and Patriots senior back Karen Hamilton both missed, junior goalie Liz Hammel blocked away a shot by North Carroll senior goalie Beth Reeb.
But Reeb was awarded another try after Hammel was whistled for moving before the ball was struck, and Reeb buried her second chance into the right corner.
After Thomas Johnson sophomore back Sandy Wasniewski and Panthers junior back Amy Bromwell missed, freshman back Emily Sykes booted the ball into the right corner to seal the victory for the Patriots.
North Carroll coach Jim MacDonald said he believed that Thomas Johnson benefited from its 2-1 penalty-kick victory over Walter Johnson on Friday.
"You can practice penalty kicks in the weeks leading up to the tournament, but until you actually do it, it's hard to simulate," he said. "It's a tough way to end the season."
The win preserved a 19-game unbeaten streak for the Patriots (18-0-1), who haven't lost since the Panthers beat them, 3-2, in last year's regional final.
North Carroll opened the first half like a team playing in its first regional final. A skittish defense allowed a trio of Patriot players -- Merkel, senior striker Katie Roberts and senior midfielder Jeanine Cefalu -- to exploit the outer edges of the field for several scoring opportunities.
Bromwell lofted a kick from 25 yards toward the net, where Hammel jumped to catch the ball. But when she landed, she slipped and dropped the ball, which was booted in by sophomore striker Maria Humphries to give North Carroll a 1-0 edge with 13: 10 left in the first half.
It took the duo of Sykes and Cefalu only 1: 43 in the second half to tie the score for Thomas Johnson. Cefalu's direct kick from 20 yards away along the left sideline was headed by several players in front of Reeb before Sykes headed it in.