Sparrows Point misses 1A title

Girls soccer

High schools


Defense has been the Sparrows Point girls soccer team's forte all season, but it wasn't quite enough to carry the Pointers to a state championship.

Shelby Layman slipped a goal past the Pointers early in each half to give Smithsburg its first outright title, 2-0, in the state Class 1A final yesterday at UMBC Stadium. The Pointers (14-3) had to settle for the runner-up trophy for a second straight year.

Layman scored an opportunistic goal in the third minute after the Pointers could not clear the ball and it squirted between two defenders out to the right side of the box. The sophomore striker had a clear opening to the far corner and ripped the ball past diving Pointers goalie Amanda Cowan.

"We had two girls who were trying to talk, but they were right next to each other and they couldn't get the ball out. The ball just got away from them," said Pointers defender Kristen Collison.

Two minutes after the goal, Cowan, a junior who finished with six saves, came out to snuff Mia Doyle, who had made a run down the right side, and then made two more point-blank saves.

The Pointers' defense of Collison, Gabrielle Antalffy, Shannon Harlow and Sarah Haines, which allowed only five goals during the regular season, tightened up and fought off every threat from the dominating Leopards the rest of the half.

"We were just trying to get out of the first half without being two down, so we had a shot in the second half to come back," said Sparrows Point coach Conrad Snyder, "but giving up that first goal killed us. That's the way we've been playing all year. We're the ones who score the first goal, get control of the game, and today the tables were turned."

The Pointers, who didn't manage a shot in the first half, had a chance to tie in the opening minute of the second half when Lauren Miller nailed a shot just inside the right post. Smithsburg goalie Kristen Cacciola, who had not touched the ball in the first half, reached out to bat the ball away.

Layman, however, had the final say. The Leopards' leading scorer took a pass from Katie Seifarth and lofted it past Cowan in the 44th minute to all but seal the victory for the Leopards, who shared their previous title with Loch Raven in 2001.

"They had a greater sense of urgency than we did and communicated a little better," said Snyder. "When you get to higher level games like we had today, that's the difference. But that doesn't diminish our season. We won our division, played for the Baltimore County championship and got back to the state title game."

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