After Madison Cyr scored an early goal against ninth-ranked Glenelg in Friday night's Class 2A state girls soccer semifinal, Winters Mill implemented an effective strategy of playing its defenders deep and letting the forwards and midfielders continue to attack.
The plan worked, and the Falcons will make their first appearance in the state championship game after a 1-0 victory over the Gladiators, who own six state titles.
In the other 2A semifinal at Harford Tech, Heather Summers' goal in the 50th minute gave No. 15 Fallston a 1-0 victory over Eastern Tech in a steady mist.
Winters Mill and Fallston will meet next week at UMBC.
"Winning six straight titles is a tremendous accomplishment," Winters Mill first-year head coach Andy Hicks said. "I told my team: 'They've been here before, and we have never made it this far ever. Who has anything to lose? We don't.' We played without fear, and that makes us dangerous."
In the 10th minute, Winters Mill (12-3-1) got onto the board when Mackenzie Cyr's long throw-in skidded through the penalty area to her sister, Madison, who scored from close range. Glenelg (13-4-1) spread its players wide and had several chances inside the penalty area but could not convert.
"Our coach is new, and the first meeting we had, he said we're going to states," said Madison Cyr, who has a team-high 14 goals. "We came in confident and played like we usually play and won."
Fallston (12-5) also needed only a goal to advance. The Cougars scored off a counterattack that ended with Summers knocking in a loose ball from 5 yards. Fallston returns to the title game for the second consecutive year and is looking for its first state title since 1996. Eastern Tech (9-4-1) was appearing in its sixth state semifinal since 2003.
"Eastern Tech is a solid team," Fallston coach Alyson Cammann said. "Both teams played their hearts out."
Winters Mill 1, No. 9 Glenelg 0
Goal: W-Mad. Cyr; Assist: W-Mak. Cyr. Saves: G-Carey 5; W-McMunn 6. Half: W, 1-0.
No. 15 Fallston 1, Eastern Tech 0
Goal: F-Summers. Saves: E-Willem 4; F-Baldwin 4. Half: 0-0.