The Maryland 3A West Region girls' soccer final between Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Urbana wound to what long seemed like a forgone conclusion last night.
In a game dominated by stout defense, the only way to determine a winner was to remove all defenders from the field.
After playing to a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtimes, the Barons beat visiting Urbana, 4-3, on penalty kicks, which players deemed important for two reasons: No. 5 Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-1-1) advanced to the state semifinal, where it will play Severna Park at River Hill on Saturday. It also ended a game against fourth-ranked Urbana (12-4-1) that often seemed endless.
"I didn't think anybody was going to win," Barons Coach Robert Kurtz said. "Both of these teams are just so tough, and the defense was so good. It's the type of game that could stay close forever."
Bethesda-Chevy Chase midfielder Emily Forline finally ended it, kicking a hard roller into the left corner of the goal to break a 3-3 tie in penalty kicks.
"I was definitely nervous," Forline said. "I knew all the pressure was on me, and I just wanted to make it. When it went in, I felt really relieved. Happy, too."
Centennial Girls Advance
Senior forward Rosie Goldberg's goal late in the second half lifted Centennial to a 1-0 victory over defending regional champion River Hill in the 3A East Region girls' tournament final in Ellicott City.
Howard County champion Centennial (12-1-1), which will advance to the state tournament for the first time since sharing the 2A title with Bethesda-Chevy Chase in 2001, will face 3A North champion C.M. Wright on Saturday at River Hill in Clarksville.
Centennial, which had not defeated River Hill (12-5) since 1998 -- including a 1-0 loss in the regular season this fall -- broke a scoreless tie when senior forward Mandy Paizs slid a pass to Goldberg between two River Hill defenders.
Goldberg dribbled past the final defender before shooting the ball into the lower right corner with 8 minutes 30 seconds remaining.
"This was a sweet victory for us," Goldberg said.
Pigott Boosts Atholton
Atholton sophomore Sara Pigott's first varsity goal was also the biggest in school history, as her overtime tally earned the girls' team its first berth in the state tournament with a 1-0 victory over Reservoir in the Maryland 2A South Region tournament final.
Pigott, who was called up from the junior varsity in late September, used her right foot to knock junior midfielder Ellen Parr's corner kick into the top of the net with three minutes remaining in the first sudden-death overtime period.
"I've never experienced something like this before," Pigott said. "The ball came in off the corner kick, and I got my right foot on it and it went in."
Atholton (10-6-1) advanced to the state semifinals, where it will host the winner of yesterday's 2A West Region final between South Carroll and Middletown on Friday at 5 p.m.
Reservoir, playing in its second season on the varsity level, finished 10-4-1 after winning six games last year.
Wright Lifts Whitman
Senior Erica Wright scored with fewer than two minutes left in overtime to lead host Whitman to a 2-1 victory over Sherwood in the Maryland 4A West Region final in Bethesda.
Just as they had had done in the first half, the Vikings came out aggressively in overtime, and they reaped the benefits when freshman Leslie Morrison found Wright zipping across the middle. Wright dribbled a few yards into the penalty area, fired a strike toward the left post and sent Whitman to its first state semifinal.
Whitman had grabbed a 1-0 lead on Katharine Laco's goal in the 31st minute. But Sherwood remained close behind goalkeeper Katie Davis, who made an array of lunging saves and finished with 12 in all. The Warriors finally broke through with 18:25 left in the game on a goal by Louisa Jamgochian.
Sherwood Stops Churchill
Forwards Emmanuel Yamson and Michael Rollings each scored to lead No. 10 Sherwood past No. 6 Churchill, 2-0, in the Maryland 4A West Region boys' final at Whitman High in Bethesda.
Goalkeepers Warren Max and Ryan Hock combined to stop 11 shots for the Warriors, who needed only two shots on goal to reach their first state semifinal since 1988.
Yamson scored in the 19th minute, and Rollings, the team's leading scorer, gave Sherwood (14-3-1) some leeway when he scored in the 75th minute. Sherwood had lost to Walter Johnson, 5-4, in last season's regional final.
"I said until you beat [Churchill, Walter Johnson or Whitman], you'll always be viewed as a second-class team," Sherwood Coach Hector Morales said. "And that's what we've done this year."
Sherwood will face the winner of the 4A South Region final -- High Point or Bowie -- in a 5 p.m. state semifinal Friday at South River. Churchill's season ended at 13-3-1.
Special correspondent Andrew Levine contributed to this report.