Girls’ soccer: Clare Severe helps Whitman drop National Cathedral

Whitman sophomore Clare Severe started Monday’s nonleague girls’ soccer game against seventh-ranked National Cathedral at her familiar left fullback position, and if she had stayed there, the defensive stalemate in the public-private battle might never have been broken.

Lucky for the Vikings, Severe left her comfort zone and logged enough time at forward to provide the offense needed for a 1-0 win over the Eagles. She sent a rocket off the post in the 40th minute that sophomore Maddie Parker finished for the lone goal on senior night in Bethesda.

“I like going up front,” Severe said. “I don’t always know where to be, but I just kind of run around. It’s fun.”

Whitman (10-2) controlled play for most of the game, limiting National Cathedral (9-2-2) to two shots on goal, but the Vikings couldn’t break through until Severe created a goal in the final minute of the first half. With a defender giving chase, Severe broke right and got off a right-footed shot across her body from about 12 yards out.

The attempt narrowly missed becoming Severe’s fourth goal of the season, instead firing off the inside of the far post, but Parker timed her run in for the rebound perfectly. The midfielder easily placed the loose ball into the open net from close range for her first score of the year.

“She’s a great defender, but she’s so dangerous [at forward] with her speed and her ability on the ball,” Whitman Coach Greg Herbert said of Severe. “It’s something that we would be hurting the team if we didn’t give her some minutes up top.”

Whitman never solved National Cathedral freshman goalkeeper Erica Sanders (six saves) but held on for a victory to continue a strong final week of the regular season.

Herbert’s squad also beat No. 9 Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which has won four straight Maryland public school titles, last Wednesday, 2-1. National Cathedral Coach Danielle Malagari called the Vikings the most talented team the Eagles have faced this season.

After winning its second straight Montgomery 4A South title, Whitman heads into the Maryland 4A West playoffs, which begin Friday, seeded third.

In the draw released Monday, the team has a first-round bye and will meet the winner between Richard Montgomery and perennial power Churchill in the region quarterfinals. The Bulldogs have eliminated the Vikings from the playoffs the past three seasons.

“Our momentum’s really going right now,” said Severe, whose team had the region’s top seed last season. “We’re pretty excited to get into the playoffs. . . . Hopefully, it will be [against] Churchill and we’ll get our shot at redemption.”

Bethesda-Chevy Chase will try for a fifth consecutive state crown from the top seed in the Maryland 4A West region, while Huntingtown, which won its first Maryland 3A title last season, did likewise in the 3A South.

Arundel (Maryland 4A East), C.H. Flowers (4A South), River Hill (3A East), Gwynn Park (2A South) and Surrattsville (1A South) are the other local No. 1 seeds. Check out all the state playoff brackets here.

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