Perry Hall just short in state title quest

E. Roosevelt's header in sudden-death 2nd OT defeats No. 13 Gators, 1-0

Class 4A girls soccer final

High Schools

November 18, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

The longer No. 13 Perry Hall and Eleanor Roosevelt played in last night's state Class 4A girls soccer championship at UMBC, the more likely it seemed that one lucky break would make all the difference.

Unfortunately for the Gators, who were hoping to win their first state crown in three straight final appearances, that break went Eleanor Roosevelt's way in the 95th minute.

Erin Casey headed home the game-winner after the ball caromed around off Katie Greenwood's corner kick, giving the Raiders a 1-0 sudden-death victory in double overtime and the first state girls soccer title for a Prince George's County team.

Greenwood's corner kick went to the near post, where the Gators' Christa Debole headed it off the crossbar. As the ball dropped, keeper Mallory McDonald deflected it up and to her right, where Casey was perfectly in place for the header.

"It was just a gorgeous corner kick and I somehow got my head on it," said Casey. "The goalie reached for it, but it slid in between her head and the crossbar."

McDonald said: "It went off the top of the post and kind of rolled back in play. Someone else [Casey] hit it and it went right up in the corner. It was hard. With so many people in there it's hard to read."

The Gators (15-5) had a few chances to end the game before overtime, but the Raiders' defense, led by Caitlin Salins, held Gators strikers Jessica Knight and Debole in check.

"I thought Roosevelt's fullbacks did a good job man marking on our forwards and frustrating them," said Gators coach Brad Kressman. "We had a lot of pressure, but in truth, we didn't have a lot of really clear shots. Neither team did."

The Gators had a couple of chances in the second half, especially when senior Brittany McKew one-timed a bouncing ball in front of the goal that nearly slipped over the head of keeper Wendy Balogun.

In the first of two 10-minute sudden-death overtime periods, the Gators took the only three shots. Perry Hall also had a couple of nice crosses, but the Raiders (16-2-1) cleared one and Debole shot wide on the other.

"We only play one game a year on turf and it didn't seem like we connected our passes," said McKew. "We were fine until the final third and then we would just kick it. If we had passed to feet, we would have been fine."

For the Gators, the loss was particularly disappointing for the 13 seniors, most of whom have now played on three straight runner-up teams.

"For all the seniors, our goal was to get to states - to win states really," said McKew, "but as we went into the tournament, we just played so hard. We wanted it so much. In the second half, in the overtime, you could tell; we just couldn't put it through."

Said Gators senior midfielder Allie Barreiro: "We had a great season. I don't regret anything about it. I'm glad we came back from the beginning of the season when we weren't that great. We fought our way to the top. Not many teams can say they made it to the state finals three years in a row."

Goals: ER-Casey. Saves: PH-McDonald 3; ER-Jacobs 2, Balogun 5. Half: 0-0. End of regulation: 0-0.

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