Severna Park senior forward Joey Maruggi scored with 51 seconds left in overtime for a 1-0 victory over top-ranked Bethesda-Chevy Chase in a Maryland 3A boys' soccer semifinal yesterday at Tuscarora High in Frederick.
The Falcons (14-4-1) advanced to the state final against two-time defending champion River Hill, which posted a 1-0 victory over previously undefeated Fallston in the other semifinal.
Severna Park, which won the 3A title in 2001, handed Bethesda-Chevy Chase (14-2) its first loss on the field; the Barons had forfeited a 7-0 victory over Wheaton during the regular season for using an ineligible player.
"They had better soccer players than we did, but we had the better athletes," Severna Park Coach Bob Thomas said. "And as the game went on, I think we showed that we just wanted to win the game more than they did."
After more than 99 minutes of scoreless play, Severna Park junior midfielder Steve Malm stole the ball and lofted a perfect pass across the penalty box to Maruggi, who broke toward the goal. Maruggi delivered a shot in front of diving senior sweeper Kwame Darko and past the outstretched arm of junior goalie Will Hanlon into the lower-left corner of the net to end the game.
"We've had trouble finishing all day and this was such a hard-fought game that we knew it was going to come down to who could get that perfect play to win it," Maruggi said. "We've been talking about going to the state championship since our first day of practice, and now we're going to get that opportunity."
For No. 3 River Hill (14-1-1), junior defenseman Justin White scored his first varsity goal by lofting a corner kick into a swift wind that trickled through the fingers of goalie Andrew Tress with 8 minutes 41 seconds left in the first half. It was just the fourth goal the Cougars (18-1) allowed this season.
"I just wanted to put it in play so one of my teammates could get to it," White said. "But it ended up being a beautiful shot."
Whitman Shows Heart
The climb from the bottom of a region to the top of the state is an arduous one. That's a lesson the Whitman girls' soccer team is learning with each passing game.
Three players scored for the Vikings, who staved off a second-half charge from No. 10 Bowie and won, 3-2, at the Maryland 4A semifinals at Northeast High School. Whitman (13-4), which had navigated through the 4A West region as a ninth seed, will make its first state final appearance in school history. The Vikings will play third-ranked South River, a 3-1 victor over Westminster in the second game.
Whitman needed overtime to defeat Sherwood in the region final on Tuesday, but wasted little time in asserting itself against Bowie. Katharine Laco and Becky Stevens scored on two of the Vikings' first three shots on goal before Erica Wright -- who scored the winner against Sherwood -- tacked on another as Whitman raced to a 3-0 halftime lead.
But Bowie (16-3) responded quickly in the second half, with Ashley Morse and Amanda Poach each scoring in the first five minutes to cut the lead to 3-2.
"This team has shown heart all year," Whitman Coach Tony Pykosh said. "They went through some tough patches. . . . I think one thing they learned was to keep playing the entire game regardless of the score."
In the second game, Rachel Fry, Nicole Bonanni and Ali Moreland each scored to lead South River (14-4-1), which was bounced out of the state semifinals on penalty kicks in each of the past two seasons.
Tuscarora Girls Advance
The Tuscarora girls' soccer team has no seniors. Before this season, the second-year school had not even played a varsity schedule. But yesterday the Titans moved closer to an improbable Maryland 1A title with a 3-2 semifinal win over Smithsburg in the first of two semifinals at Long Reach High School.
In the championship game, Tuscarora (15-2) will play Sparrows Point, a 3-2 double overtime winner over Queen Anne's County.
The Titans sprinted to a 3-0 lead in the first half on goals from freshmen Courtney Yee and Natalie Salovich and junior Molly Franklin. The Leopards (13-5) cut the deficit to one with less than five minutes to play, but Tuscarora received stellar goalkeeping from freshman Emmy Simpkins in the closing minutes to hang on.
"We found a way to get the result at the end and that's some resolve on the kids," Titans Coach Mark Wolcott said. "There's a lot of talent out here. For us it's been about learning day-to-day how to do things so the lack of age doesn't come back to hurt us, and it generally hasn't."
Sherwood senior striker Michael Rollings's goal during the Warriors' 2-1 victory against Bowie in last night's Maryland 4A semifinals was the kind of play that makes fans take notice.
Rollings, Sherwood's leading scorer with 21 goals, beat a Bowie defender by making a quick cut almost 18 yards from the right post and then lofted a perfectly placed left-footed shot over the goalkeeper in the fourth minute.
Bowie (13-3) certainly took notice; until last night's game the Prince George's County champions had trailed only once before during their entire season. The Bulldogs, however, couldn't do much to stop Sherwood, which took a 2-0 lead when junior midfielder Emmanuel Yamson scored in the 17th minute. Bowie's goal came in the 27th minute when senior midfielder Christopher Flynn scored on a penalty kick.
In the other 4A semifinal, No. 4 Old Mill beat Thomas Johnson, 2-1.
Special correspondents Andrew Levine, Charlie Moss and Will Toussaint contributed to this report.