La Plata junior Noelle Rodenberger wasn't going to let another precious scoring opportunity slip by in the Warriors' 3A South Region quarterfinal game against Thomas Stone on Thursday.
She had spent five of the Warriors' six penalty corners and most of the entire game looking to pass the ball to her teammates. When Rodenberger's chance to score came on the sixth and final penalty corner, she charged Thomas Stone's goal, scooped teammate Lindsay Adkinson's pass and chopped the ball in for her eighth goal of the season, giving the Warriors a 1-0 victory.
"I was trying to get the ball to [my teammates at] the right corner, but it wasn't happening, so I decided to do it myself," Rodenberger said of her goal, which came with 6 minutes 12 seconds remaining. "We had the ball down there almost the entire game, but we couldn't finish."
La Plata will face top-seeded Northern in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Tuesday. La Plata lost to Northern, 3-0, last week after playing the Patriots close in the first half.
Northern defeated McDonough 4-0 in a quarterfinal game Thursday.
Tuesday's other semifinal pits Patuxent against Great Mills. Patuxent was a 2-0 winner over Leonardtown on Thursday, and Great Mills defeated Westlake, 2-1, on Friday.
La Plata totaled 12 shots on goal in its quarterfinal Thursday, including one that rang off the goal post before game's end. Despite keeping the ball on offense for most of the game, La Plata's offense was frustrated with its failed scoring attempts.
"Probably our biggest weakness this year is putting the ball in consistently," La Plata Coach Ed Webster said. "There have been games where we could score, but there have been others where we couldn't buy a goal."
Though La Plata defeated Thomas Stone, 4-1, in early October, Webster anticipated a scoring drought before Thursday's game and moved scoring leader Krista Hein (nine goals) from the midfield to the forward line. La Plata sophomore defenders Alison Ramsey and Christine Upright prevented Thomas Stone from advancing downfield and fed the Warriors' offense in transition.
La Plata goalkeeper Emily Pflaum, who replaced injured starter Kerri Bragg, recorded her second shutout in the past three games.
"There wasn't that much pressure on defense," Ramsey said. Thomas Stone "had a couple of fast breaks, and we just kept pushing the ball up the field."
La Plata will face an aggressive Northern team that excels at pressure defense and moving the ball upfield with sharp, accurate passes.
"We usually play a lot better when we face a strong opponent like [Northern]," Webster said. "You always look forward to a challenge like that."