River Hill junior Justin Fabling earned his first county title by sinking a four-foot putt on the second playoff hole at Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center on Monday, beating out three other players who were tied with him after 18 holes last week.
Fabling, Centennial freshman Chris Wellde, Glenelg junior Andrew Gotschall and Mount Hebron junior Kyoo Hwang each shot a 10-over-par 81 on Oct. 19, but the playoff was postponed to Monday because of darkness.
"I pushed the playoff out of my mind and didn't think about it until [Monday]," Fabling said. "I didn't want to come here nervous."
Wellde had a different approach: "I've been thinking about this all week, and I felt good coming in because I was hitting the ball well at the driving range."
On the first playoff hole -- a 365-yard par-4 -- Fabling, Hwang and Gotschall each hit his first shot in the middle of the fairway, but Wellde sliced his drive out of bounds, a one-stroke penalty that effectively eliminated him from contention.
Each player reached the green on the next shot. Hwang missed his 14-foot putt and was out, but Fabling and Gotschall converted putts to force a second hole.
On that one -- a 368-yard par-4 -- the match was decided when Gotschall needed two strokes to get out of the sand trap.
"That shot was just like my whole year -- I made one big mistake and it cost me," Gotschall said.
On the green, Fabling sank a four-footer for a bogey after Gotschall carded a double-bogey.
"I've made so many putts like that before, so I was confident that I was going to make it," Fabling said. "I knew it was good as soon as I hit it."
The Chapelgate Christian girls' soccer team never had a winning record before this season, but that didn't stop first-year coach Randy Lindauere from setting high aspirations.
"I thought we'd be competitive and make it to the championship game," he said. "But I never expected this."
The Yellowjackets entered the week 13-1 overall and atop the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference with a mark of 7-0.
Not bad for a team that won six games last year.
The Yellowjackets clinched the top seed in next week's league tournament, and they did so impressively. Chapelgate Christian outscored opponents 90-6, led by forwards Mandy Pena-Ariet (24 goals) and Jesse Lutz (nine goals) and midfielder Jessica Wybenga (eight goals).
Junior goalie Sarah Moreland has recorded 12 shutouts, backing a strong defense led by sweeper Evelyn Groves and Kylee Ramsland.
"Last year, Sarah was a defender, but since we didn't have a goalie this year, she stepped up to the challenge because she knew it would help us," Lindauere said. "And that right there is why we've played so well: Everyone contributes."
National Team Training for Siegel
Centennial two-time All-Met senior midfielder Hayley Siegel was one of 23 players selected to attend the U.S. National Women's Soccer team's training camp this week in Carson City, Calif.
Siegel, a national team player for the past two years, left for a week Saturday and missed Centennial's game against Long Reach on Tuesday.
"I get to miss a week of school to play soccer and play on the most perfect fields you have ever seen," Siegel said. "But being part of the national team is everything I work for."
The Under-17 national team is 5-1 this year, including victories over Germany and Canada and a loss to the U.S. Under-19 national team. Siegel's lone goal for the National Team came in a 5-0 victory over the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., last spring.
The Santa Clara-bound Siegel has five goals and seven assists for the eighth-ranked Eagles, who earned the top seed in the 3A East Region tournament with a record of 9-1-1.
Gators Getting Closer
As the playoffs get underway, Reservoir's girls' soccer team is hoping to overcome its biggest problem of the regular season: the inability to win close games.
The team's three losses -- to Glenelg, River Hill and Centennial -- were by a combined four goals.
"We're treating the region tournament like it's a brand new season, and now it's our turn to win the close games," said junior goalie Christa Puccio, whose team earned the second seed in the 2A South Region tournament with a record of 6-3-1. "We've been right there in all three [losses]. We'd get the ball down to their end of the field, but we just can't get enough shots off, and that's why we're not scoring as much as we know we can."
Reservoir has made major strides against the county's top teams this fall. Last year, Reservoir was outscored by River Hill, Glenelg and Centennial by a combined 9-1.
"Last year, we were intimidated by those teams, but not anymore," Coach Jeff Bradbury said.
"We're holding our own out there, and we're playing hard, so what more can I ask from our team? I think having played in as many close games as we have, it's only going to help us."