CATONSVILLE, Md. — Come playoff time, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase girls’ soccer team devotes at least 25 minutes per practice to working on penalty kicks. In Friday’s Maryland 4A final against Severna Park, the Barons showcased the results of that hard work.
Junior Zoe Mesirow converted a fifth-round kick to give the Barons a 3-2 win in the shootout and their record fourth consecutive state title.
“We were all pretty confident with Zoe stepping up,” senior Kara Klonz said. “In practice, Zoe always makes her PKs. We felt like we were in a good spot and seeing it go into the back of the net, you just kind of lose control.”
Severna Park (15-4-1) earned the better offensive chances during regulation and two 10-minute overtimes, but neither team could finish. Bethesda-Chevy Chase Coach Rob Kurtz acknowledged that late in the game his squad — confident in its shooters and junior goalie Angela White — was playing for a shootout.
In penalty kicks, junior Alix Emden and sophomore Eliza Doll converted kicks to give Bethesda-Chevy Chase (14-3-2) an early advantage. But Severna Park sophomore goalie Rachel Vander Kolk came up with a pair of stops, and successful kicks by senior Amanda Ross and sophomore Abby Thomas ensured that it went to the final round tied.
White, who made 10 saves to record her 12th shutout, reached to her right to save Severna Park’s fifth attempt. That put the pressure on Mesirow, who did not score a goal in the Barons’ first 16 games, to deliver the title.
Mesirow calmly knocked a low shot into the right side of the net for the game-winner, sending her teammates charging toward her to celebrate.
“It was amazing,” Mesirow said. “We worked so hard to get here, and when we won, it was just an amazing feeling. I knew we could do it.”
Bethesda-Chevy Chase didn’t take the most conventional route to a title but ultimately made enough plays to extend its title streak.
The Barons were shut out in their first three games of the season and struggled to spark its offense early in the season replacing 2010 All-Met Player of the Year Alex Doll. In the playoffs, the Barons battled through an injury to its leading scorer — senior Hannah Levin. After Friday’s win, Kurtz said that his team was probably outplayed in three of its five playoff victory.
“This group when they get together something special happens,” Kurtz said. “They will their way to win games.”