Calvert senior Megan Salley, arms thrust in celebration, ran with her teammates, gleefully rolled alone in the dirt in front the team's bench and joined her three fellow seniors in presenting the Maryland 3A South Region girls' soccer trophy to school Principal Gene Bridgett.
They had much to celebrate.
The Cavaliers first made history more than a week ago as the first team from Calvert County to capture a Southern Maryland Athletic Conference girls' soccer title. They made history again Thursday night, beating defending regional champion Leonardtown, 1-0, to become the first Calvert team to advance to the state tournament.
The Cavaliers (15-1) resume their quest Monday against North Region champion Bel Air. The game will be played at 5 p.m. at Annapolis High School.
"This is the farthest Calvert has ever gone," Calvert Coach Doug Jones said. "And we hope to take this to another level here. We're going to do everything we can."
The main objective will be playing the kind of stellar defense that carried the Cavaliers to the regional championship. Calvert, which swept through regular-season SMAC play, has recorded three consecutive shutouts in regional action. In 13 games against conference opponents -- including the playoffs -- the Cavaliers have allowed only six goals. Two of those six came in a 4-2 victory over the Raiders during the regular season.
Although the 1-0 lead Calvert grabbed in the 62nd minute Thursday seemed fragile, especially considering Leonardtown's late onslaught, Jones knew that penetrating his team's defense would not be an easy task.
"We have an excellent defensive squad, obviously the best in the SMAC, and we kept them out," Jones said. "We have speed, and these ladies work extremely well together. It's a give-and-take situation back there with strength and support overlapping, and they do that very naturally."
Calvert controlled the ball for much of the first half but didn't take the lead until senior forward Jen Corken broke free against junior Melisa Okenka and outran her down the far sideline. Okenka wisely booted the ball past the end line to stop Corken, but it gave the Cavaliers a corner kick.
Corken, who has scored 33 goals this season, took the kick and lofted it in front of the goal. A Raiders defender again batted the ball away, but instead of sailing wide, it went directly back to Corken, who was charging from the corner.
"I saw it coming back and decided that I was going to try to curve it in, see if it would go," Corken said.
The ball fell just short of the left corner of the goal, but Calvert junior forward Alyssa Ashworth stood in perfect position to push it in, sliding it past goalie Michelle Mattingly for the winning score.
The Raiders, sensing urgency, worked at a frantic pace in the closing minutes. They shot from within the box and outside it, firing headers and rocketing shots. But Calvert defender Stephani Jones, a sophomore, and juniors Joyce Haines and Stephanie Mirales proved impenetrable. They helped junior goalkeeper Heather Moe stave off nearly a half-dozen shots by the Raiders in the game's final minutes.
"When it came down to it, they finished their one opportunity and we didn't," Leonardtown Coach Jennifer Henderson said, lamenting as she rattled off the list of near-misses. "The opportunity was there, unfortunately it just didn't go into the back of the net tonight."
When the final buzzer sounded, Jones and his players raced to midfield, fists raised for the first round of celebrating.
"This means so much," Corken said. "We've come so far in our four years here. The very first year we played [Leonardtown] we lost like 11-0. And then it was 8-0 and then something like 3-0. And then this year, finally we beat them. So to beat them twice in one year means so much. We're SMAC champs, county champs and now region champs."
Only one more to make the list complete.