Severna Park 2,
For the second straight season, the Leonardtown girls' soccer team fell short against Severna Park in the 3A South Region championship game. This season, the circumstances were different -- a 2-1 loss after a comeback fell short -- but the result was just as painful for the Raiders.
"We were hoping that if we had to lose it would be in a state [tournament] game," senior forward Zehra Oztas said. "I guess Severna Park has our number."
A year ago, the Raiders took a 2-0 lead into halftime against the Falcons, but Severna Park rallied to score three consecutive goals and win the game in stunning fashion. The Falcons eventually won their second straight state championship.
On a chilly Tuesday night in Leonardtown, Severna Park (12-3) scored two early goals and had the momentum during the first half and the opening part of the second half. But, starting with Oztas's goal in the 58th minute, the Raiders (12-4) came surging back, getting several more good opportunities to score but not finding a way to capitalize.
Leonardtown has not won a state championship since 1998. Severna Park is aiming for its third in a row and fourth in five years.
"I thought it was a great effort by my kids. They showed a lot of heart tonight," Leonardtown Coach Jennifer Henderson said. "Unfortunately, we made two mistakes early in the first half, and it's tough to get two goals back against as quality a team as Severna Park."
The two mistakes were a pair of goals that gave Severna Park the early advantage. In the second minute of the game, Falcons sophomore Emily Zido made a pass from the left side to near the Leonardtown goal. The pass sailed over the head of Raiders junior goalkeeper Sarah Taggert and bounced off the chest of Severna Park freshman Katie Cloud into the net.
In the 26th minute, the Falcons got an impressive goal when senior Melissa Loureiro attempted a corner kick that curved, deflected off a Leonardtown defender and went in the goal.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were dominated by Severna Park, which had several good shots but did not score. But Oztas's goal set off a furious final 20 minutes that included two point-blank shots saved by Severna Park goalkeeper Megan MacNabb. Leonardtown had a corner kick in the 78th minute, and the ball bounded around in front of the net before being cleared.
"I think these girls have shown that they can play with a team like Severna Park as well as anybody," Henderson said. "Unfortunately, they got one more goal than we did."