With the Bethesda-Chevy Chase girls’ soccer team’s season and string of four consecutive state titles hanging in the balance, Coach Rob Kurtz edged over to sophomore Denali Minnick near midfield on Saturday night at Richard Montgomery. If the team could somehow rally to extend the penalty shootout in its Maryland 4A semifinal with Sherwood, the defender would shoot in the sixth round, the coach said quietly.
The playoff-proven Barons made sure Kurtz’s decision mattered. After playing 100 scoreless minutes, Bethesda-Chevy Chase trailed for most of the shootout but once again found a way in the postseason with Minnick providing the game-winning kick.
The Barons will try for an unprecedented fifth straight title next week against South River after beating the Warriors, 4-3, in six rounds of penalty kicks.
“We all love each other so much, I knew they really wouldn’t be that upset if I missed,” Minnick said. “That just takes so much of the pressure out.”
Sherwood (14-2) beat Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-3) in the regular season and had the better chances in regulation on Saturday, but the Warriors never managed to capitalize. The Barons earned a penalty shootout and survived two early misfires thanks to a pair of established playoff heroes.
Trailing 3-2 heading to the fifth round, Bethesda-Chevy Chase needed senior Zoe Mesirow— who hit the game-winning kick in last season’s state final win over Severna Park — to convert her attempt to extend the game.
After Mesirow connected, goalkeeper Angela White did her part, diving to her right to save Sherwood’s game-winning attempt. The senior also stopped a second-round shot and improved to 3-0 career in penalty-kick sessions at B-CC.
That sequence allowed Minnick her chance, and she calmly placed the shot in the lower right corner of the net. The Barons celebrated an unlikely victory when White watched Sherwood’s final attempt sail wide right.
“ ‘We need to keep going,’ — that’s what I was thinking,” White said, tears still fresh in her eyes. “I knew I wanted to play with these girls one more game. . . . I think this is the most emotional I’ve ever been” after a soccer game.
South River (17-2) threatened the Bulldogs (13-2) from the opening whistle. Longo headed in a 17th-minute cross from junior Madison Koenig to give the Seahawks the lead, and she found the net again in the 46th minute with a left-footed blast from 25 yards. . . .
Two minutes later, Longo earned a penalty kick after being hauled down on a breakaway. Bowie goalkeeper Ellen Anderson received a red card on the play, and senior Rebekah Petty converted the ensuing attempt.
“Everyone has to do something to get me the ball with the opportunity to finish,” said Longo, who tallied her third goal off a rebound in the final minutes. “It was my turn to score today, but I can’t take all the credit.”
With a goal midway through the second half, Michaela Hennessy netted her third consecutive game-winner as the undefeated Hawks blanked Huntingtown, 3-0, to advance to the 3A final against C.M. Wright.
“She’s a senior, and she doesn’t want to end the season,” Coach Brian Song said.
Playing in its first state tournament, the Long Reach girls’ team came up short in a Maryland 2A semifinal against Middletown at Bel Air, falling 3-1. Junior Heather Glasser scored for the Lightning on an assist from junior Ana Rebaza.