Quince Orchard believed it had been overlooked all season, even as it marched through the playoffs into tonight's Maryland 4A championship game against Perry Hall. But when senior Brooke Manger broke a scoreless tie in the 13th minute of overtime to give the Cougars a 1-0 victory, the team made its point in claiming its first state title.
"I think there were a lot of people who counted us out," Manger said. "But we really thought this was a team that could surprise people."
After 93 soggy minutes on UMBC's puddle-ridden field, sophomore Samerria Crowder deflected a cross pass from Brittany Dorsey right to Manger, who put it the goal from five yards away to clinch the championship.
Quince Orchard (9-1-1) had been the fourth seed in the 4A West Region. But three overtime wins in five postseason matches spurred the Cougars to an improbable title.
"We had been to overtime against Churchill [in the regional semifinal] and then we beat South River in a shootout [in the state semifinal], so I just told the girls, 'Hey, this is your time,' " Cougars Coach Peg Keiller said. "They really didn't want it to end in a tie."
Perry Hall (14-2) lost in the state championship game for the second straight year.
Severna Park Claims 3A
Severna Park opted to forgo individual introductions before today's Maryland 3A championship game in favor of being presented as a team. After scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute of the Falcons' 2-1 victory over Bel Air (14-5), senior co-captain Kathryn Lindler made a similar gesture, deferring credit to the whole team.
"I got a great cross pass from [junior] Katie [White], and I just happened to be there," Lindler said. "It really could have been anyone. Someone needed to do it."
Severna Park pulled out the win after withstanding a furious second-half effort by Bel Air, which had six corner kicks and 10 shots on goal in the half, including a penalty kick that tied the game in the 79th minute.
The Falcons (17-1-2) lost nine seniors from last year's team, including seven starters and two all-state players.
After losing to South River in the Anne Arundel County championship game, Severna Park finished the season with five consecutive victories, including an overtime win over No. 1 River Hill in the regional final and a shootout victory over No. 8 Walter Johnson in the state semifinals.
"We've been a bend-but-not-break team this year," Coach Gary Lam said. "Since the fourth week in the season, I've felt there's something special about this group, an intangible quality with this group. We were feeling something special with this group."