Leonardtown's girls soccer team moved within two victories of a second consecutive state title by handing visiting fifth-ranked Westlake its first loss of the season, 2-0, Tuesday in the Maryland 3A South final.
The Raiders (12-4-1) didn't score until eight minutes remained in the game. The goal was an own goal, coming after Leonardtown freshman Lauren Steele's shot--the initial shot was saved, but in the ensuing scramble the ball deflected off Westlake's goalkeeper and into the goal.
Six minutes later, Cyprian Gillingham took a throw-in from Katie Frink, split two defenders and beat the goalkeeper with a gentle, well-placed shot. Earlier in the half, Gillingham had missed a penalty kick, booming the ball outside the frame.
"The key was winning 50-50 balls and taking balls out of the air," Leonardtown Coach Jennifer Henderson said. "My defense stepped up, too. Westlake has been a scoring powerhouse all season, and we were able to shut them out."
The defense was led by sweeper Lauren Maloney and goalkeeper Carolyn Matisick. Freshman defender Cassimira Gillingham also contributed, setting up Steele's shot on the own goal with a long pass from the back.
Westlake finished the season 14-1-1. Leonardtown advanced to the 3A semifinals at Sherwood High School, where it will face Eastern Tech at 7:30 p.m. Friday.