Small Southern flexes muscle, pushes past Rockville into final

3-2 OT winners prepped by tough county teams

Class 2A South girls soccer regional

High Schools

November 04, 2001|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

ROCKVILLE -- Every year, the Southern girls soccer program -- built from the smallest school in Anne Arundel County -- takes its lumps from playing large school like Arundel and Severna Park.

As far as Bulldogs coach John Sis is concerned, he'll take those bruises if they translate into postseason victories.

Third-seeded Southern advanced to its first regional final in school history on an overtime goal from junior striker Kimi Kann to edge host and No. 2 seed Rockville, 3-2, in a Class 2A South regional semifinal yesterday.

The Bulldogs, who improved to 7-7 after starting 0-5, will meet top-seeded Bethesda-Chevy Chase either Tuesday or Wednesday.

In a region filled with Montgomery County teams, Sis and his team insist that, after a season against Anne Arundel competition, they have never been more prepared.

"I love playing the Severna Parks and Broadnecks," Sis said. "When we get trounced by Severna Park or hammered by Broadneck, I tell the girls, `This is why we play them.' There's no better way to prepare for the playoffs."

Perhaps that's why Southern wasn't nervous about going into overtime yesterday against the Rams. And it didn't take the Bulldogs long to decide the conclusion.

With five minutes left in overtime, Kann took on four Rockville defenders, juked her way into an opening, and blasted a shot into the top right corner.

Kann, who had a hand in every Southern goal, said that she followed her instincts on the game-winner.

"I don't even remember thinking about it," she said. "With the pressure of sudden-death overtime, every run is like, `This could be the one.' "

The Bulldogs appeared to have won in regulation. First, Kann converted a breakaway with her left foot with 16 minutes left in the first half.

Then Kann centered a perfect pass to sophomore striker Kelly Christian, who one-timed the ball into the net just six minutes into the second half.

But the Rams (6-5-2) rallied, earning goals from junior striker Danielle Carter and sophomore midfielder Sarah Hayden over the game's last eight minutes to force overtime.

"We got more relaxed," Christian said of Southern's play during the final minutes. "But we got mad. We wanted to get it back."

The Bulldogs controlled the tempo, peppering Rockville junior goalie Nikki Poof with 17 shots. Conversely, Southern senior goalkeeper Stephanie Thompson needed to register just five saves.

Rockville coach Errol Brathwaite was pleased with his team's effort but was somewhat disheartened by what he called a defensive breakdown on the winning goal.

"Our stopper was supposed to pick up that girl," Brathwaite said. "I think she fell just before and couldn't recover. That's all it took."

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