Molitar's rare goal pays off for Hebron

4A champ Severna Park falls in 3A quarters, 1-0

Girls soccer

November 01, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Mount Hebron striker Jessica Molitar said she had been suffering through a scoring drought all season, so she spent two hours of instruction Saturday with coach Willie Ibarra trying to improve her shooting technique.

The extra work paid off. Molitar's goal in the 55th minute of the Class 3A East Regional quarterfinal at Mount Hebron yesterday lifted the Vikings to a 1-0 upset victory over defending 4A state champion Severna Park.

Molitar leaped high into the air a couple of times, raced across the field and hugged her teammates in celebration.

"This really lifted my spirits," Molitar said. "I was thrilled. It was my fifth goal and my best goal all season."

She dribbled around one defender on the left side and kicked a left-footed shot from the 12-yard line into the upper corner at the far post. She wasn't totally surprised by the goal.

"I dreamed I scored two goals, but one was enough."

Mount Hebron (10-4-2) dominated the first half offensively after starting in a conservative double-stopper formation that later emerged into a five-midfielder set.

"I didn't want to give up any cheap goals early so we came out in a conservative formation," Ibarra said. "I had tears in my eyes when Jessica scored that goal because she took about 2,000 shots last Saturday, working on her technique while everyone else was sleeping."

Mount Hebron wasted six good scoring chances in the first half -- a couple of those were absolutely can't-miss opportunities.

"I knew we'd get one sooner or later because we played with our hearts," said Mount Hebron midfielder Julie Napolitano, who missed two shots but was largely contained by No. 6-ranked Severna Park (12-3-1).

"They are a physical team with a lot of club team players who are very skilled and know how to mark better than most teams," Napolitano said.

First-year Severna Park coach Gary Lam blamed the loss on a lack of intensity.

"Mount Hebron had more intensity and that was the difference," he said. "We didn't come to play, and when you do that in a tournament, you get knocked off. The game was too fast for us."

Ibarra wasn't surprised at Mount Hebron's win. "The skill and speed level in Howard County is different than in Anne Arundel County. They were [Severna Park] faced with something new."

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