But Easthom saved the game — and the Bruins’ season — with just 55 seconds left in the Maryland 4A/3A East Region final. She saved a South River free-position shot to preserve a 14-13 victory and send her team to the Maryland state semifinals.
Broadneck will travel to South region champion Catonsville, which beat Dulaney, 10-7, for a weekend semifinal.
“It was a mental thing at that point,” Easthom said. “At that point it wasn’t like letting myself down, it would have been like letting all of them down, too. That one last shot, I shut out the rest of the game.”
Easthom’s save also allowed Broadneck (16-4) to avenge two regular season losses at the hands of the Seahawks (14-3), the most recent of which came in the Anne Arundel County championship game. South River beat the Bruins in their two previous meetings by a total of four goals, a fact that left Broadneck hungry for a third crack at the Seahawks.
“I wanted to play them so bad,” Broadneck’s Naval Academy-bound midfielder Aislinn Probst said. “It’s hard to lose to a team two times in a row, and it wasn’t going to happen three times in a row.”
The Bruins were led offensively by senior attackerBecky Meyer, who had six goals to lead all scorers. Probst added four goals.
“When it comes down to games like this, it’s not really the skills,” Probst said. “It really comes down to who has the most heart and the best teamwork. Our will to win this game was just a little bit stronger.”
The South River boys leaned on a dominant defense early and an explosive offense late in the back end of Wednesday’s doubleheader, topping Chesapeake, 10-3, to win the Maryland 4A/3A East Region title for the second straight year.
The Seahawks will meet South champ Howard in a state semifinal at Franklin High in Reisterstown either Friday or Saturday. The Lions beat Bel Air, 17-7, to take their first region title.
South River’s defense held the Cougars (15-3) to just one goal through the first three quarters.
South River (16-3) dealt with its own early offensive struggles, tallying just three first-half goals.
“We have a lot of veterans for later on in the playoffs on this team. A lot of kids returned from last year,” said South River’s Matt Gaskins, who led all scorers with three goals. “As a group, we’re kind of ready for this situation and the big stage.”
Much of South River’s early offensive struggles could be chalked up to an impressive first half from Chesapeake goalie Ruston Souder, who single-handedly kept his team alive with 11 saves, including seven in the second quarter. . . .
In the other boys’ 4A/3A action, Churchill held off Wootton, 12-10, to earn its second straight West Region title. The Bulldogs led by six goals at the half and five after three quarters before the Patriots rallied.
Wootton (12-3) pulled within 11-10 on a goal by sophomore Myles Romm with 2 minutes 41 seconds left but got no closer. Sophomore Louis Dubick (one goal, five assists) weaved through the defense and found junior Matt Moshyedi for a man-down insurance goal with 1:58 left before Churchill (15-1) held the ball for the final 90 seconds.
“The coaches were staying positive [late in the game]. Everyone was trying to keep each other up,” said Towson-bound senior Matt Leonard, who had three goals. “We just fought through it.”
The Bulldogs advance to face North Region champ Westminster. It is a rematch of last season’s state semifinal won by the Owls.
The Warriors (15-0) will play Howard, which beat Linganore, 16-9, in the North final. The Lions (12-5) will be making their first state tournament appearance, too.
Patuxent fell to Queen Anne’s County, 20-8 in the 3A/2A East final.
Eric Detweiler contributed to this report.