Owls take TJ to the limit

Westminster just short in 2-1 sudden-death loss to CMC powerhouse

Girls soccer

October 22, 2002|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

In a game delayed 18 days because of rain and the sniper shootings, host Westminster last night finally got its crack at Central Maryland Conference girls soccer power Thomas Johnson.

The Owls nearly made the long wait pay off.

After a late second-half goal by Westminster's Sara Tenney forced the game into overtime, Brittany Wilson gave the Patriots the victory, placing a high-arching kick from 30 yards out over the fingers of goalie Kristin Greene 3 minutes, 45 seconds into sudden death to give the defending Class 3A state champions a 2-1 win.

For Westminster (4-4-2 overall, 2-4 CMC), which closes the regular season Thursday with a home game against Glenelg before opening the 4A East playoffs at Broadneck, simply having the chance to face such a stiff challenge so close to the postseason was a win-win.

Forcing overtime was a bonus.

"Anytime you can play T.J. into overtime, you've got to tip your hat to your players," Westminster coach Terry Molloy said. "They worked hard tonight."

After being outplayed for much of the way, the Owls threatened several times late and in overtime. It was the Patriots, however, who took advantage when presented with an opportunity.

Following an attempted clear, Wilson came up with the ball about 30 yards in front, and decided to take a chance.

"I just looked up, saw it open and said, `What the heck,'" said Wilson, who scored her second overtime game-winner this season. "I saw the corner open."

Thomas Johnson (8-2-1, 5-0-1) dominated play in the first half, outshooting Westminster, 10-0, and nearly taking the lead twice, with Jennifer Thackston's shot midway through the half hitting the crossbar and another shot 10 minutes later catching the far post.

The Patriots, however, finally cashed in with 5:40 left in the half, when Thackston scored on a perfectly placed direct kick from 40 yards out that eluded the effort of the leaping Greene.

After giving up 16 of the first 17 shots, however, the Owls pulled even when, following a restart, the ball squirted to junior Sara Tenney, who sent a shot into the far corner of the net with 8:40 left in regulation.

The Patriots made a bid to win it in regulation, with Thackston's corner kick hitting off a pack in front of the net and bouncing off the crossbar. For the final minute, Westminster then blocked away shot after shot deep in its own end, forcing overtime.

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