Westminster earns first trip to state title game

Owls knock off Wootton, defending champion, 1-0

4A girls soccer

High schools

November 14, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Westminster won't reach its 40-goal plateau this season, but a trip to the state championship game for the first time in school history should make up for it.

The 10th-ranked Owls got an early first-half goal from senior midfielder Mandy Komar in the eighth minute and then shut down defending state champion Wootton for the remaining 72 minutes to earn a 1-0 victory in a Class 4A state semifinal in Severna Park last night.

Extending a nine-game winning streak, Westminster improved to 13-2-1 and will meet Parkville -- which defeated Bowie, 2-0, in the other semifinal last night -- in the state final at UMBC next week.

The Owls had established the 40-goal mark as a mission, but they would have to score eight goals in the championship game to reach it. Still, a chance to win the school's first state title in girls soccer is nothing to sneeze at.

"It's something we've never done before," said senior midfielder Heidi Hurtt. "This is an opportunity of a lifetime."

Westminster coach Bryan Shumaker said the team's sense of confidence has been building since it defeated highly touted Severna Park nine days ago.

"Once we got by Severna Park, everyone realized that we are playing our best soccer in years, and we're doing it against some fantastic teams," he said.

Wootton (14-4) entered last night's contest as the West Region champ and defending state titlist, but the Owls, the East Region champs, stunned the Patriots early.

In the eighth minute, senior forward Tricia Teal, a second-team All-State selection, dribbled the ball down the left sideline before crossing the ball to the middle of the field.

A Wootton defender misplayed the ball, which ended up on the right foot of Komar.

"I looked at the goalie, and the goalie was to her right," said Komar, a first-team All-State selection. "There were a whole bunch of defenders in front of me, so I shot to the left and it went in."

After Komar's goal, the Patriots had two opportunities to score. Junior forward Laney Rosin sprinted after a loose ball in front of Westminster senior goalie Amy Ridgely (six saves), but Hurtt caught Rosin from behind and kicked the ball away.

Shortly after, junior midfielder Lauren Shoppman found herself alone in front of Ridegly from 15 yards away, but Hurtt slid-tackled the ball away.

With a 1-0 lead, Shumaker implored his squad to continue attacking.

"Our strategy didn't change," he said. "We played our game and tried to punch another one in."

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