Sparrows Point boys and girls sweep 1A soccer crowns


by Nelson Coffin

Sparrows Point High was transformed into Championship Point Friday night as the Pointers’ boys and girls soccer teams both captured Class 1A soccer state crowns in a doubleheader at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex. In both cases, Patterson Mill was the unfortunate victim.

It was a record setting fifth straight crown for the girls, while the boys won their fifth overall and first since 2006 while being led by first-year coach Joe Lambert, who was the head coach of the girls program for their previous three state titles.

Sparrows Point became only the second Baltimore County school to earn boys and girls soccer crowns in the same season and the first since Loch Raven swept though the 2009 playoffs.

ONE FOR THE THUMB

Kalli Bell was not listed among the Sparrows Point statistical leaders provided for the Pointers’ girls soccer Class 1A state championship match against Patterson Mill on Friday night at Loyola University Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex.

Even so, Bell, listed as a defender, made her presence felt in a huge way by scoring the first two goals and adding an assist later in the No. 6 Pointers’ 2-0 victory to earn their record-setting fifth straight state crown and second in a row over the Huskies from Harford County.

A former center back, Bell missed seven games during the season due to injury and then moved to an offensive midfield position in time to produce three goals and an assist before exploding in the title tilt.

Both of Bell’s goals came in the first half against Patterson Mill, the first in the fifth minute and the second ten minutes later.

“When Kalli was out for all those games, our defense formed and was playing well,” Sparrows Point coach Lori Sexton said about junior Emalee Travagline, sophomores Alaina Jacurak and Dezirae Pomory and freshman Abby Meadows.

Sparrows Point (16-2 overall) was tied with Montgomery County’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase, which claimed crowns from 2008 to 2011, for most consecutive titles until upending Patterson Mill again.

Leading scorer Julie Lynch, last fall’s VSN Girls Soccer Player of the Year, scored the game-winning goals in the two previous decisions over Patterson Mill (12-6-1) in state finals and assisted her junior classmate’s second goal this year.

The two, Lynch said, have been playing together “since we were five or six,” on recreation league and club teams.

“It’s awesome to be able to help everyone,” added the West Virginia commit who has accumulated 21 goals and 17 assists this fall. “By pulling myself out of a play, it creates space for Kalli and (senior midfielder) Emily (Vetri).”

Bell said she was happy to be on the receiving end of Lynch’s looks.

“Whenever she got the ball, I knew she would find me if I was open,” Bell said.

Fellow junior Sammie Bennett, a midfielder, notched the final goal on a nice look from Bell with just under 12 minutes left in regulation.

The defense took over from there, allowing just three shots overall with only one needing to be saved by Sparrows Point sophomore goalie Jaddah Foos.

“We wanted to set the tone early, and I thought we did that,” Patterson Mill coach Mike Parker said. “We put a lot of pressure on them, but (didn’t finish).”

Bennett agreed that, Bell’s first goal notwithstanding, things could have been different if those early chances by the Huskies could have been converted when senior forward Alexis Utain’s effort between two defenders was stymied by Foos.

“We were shaky in the first 20 minutes,” Bennett said.

However, that first goal was just what the Pointers needed, and was the beginning of the end for Patterson Mill.

“There was a letdown after that first goal,” Parker said.

And, according to Patterson Mill junior defender Bethany Bruck, just reaching the title game is no cause for celebration for the Huskies.

“We didn’t come here just to compete,” she said.

“It’s hard going against a team that has beaten you twice (in title games),” Patterson Mill senior forward Kailey Thompson said. “We played our hardest and we’re disappointed it didn’t turn out the way we wanted.”

CLASS 1A GIRLS SOCCER STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
(AT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND’S RIDLEY ATHLETIC COMPLEX)
No. 4 SPARROWS POINT 3, No. 20 PATERSON MILL 0

PM 0 0 — 0
SP 2 1 — 3

Goals: SP-Kalli Bell 2, Sammie Bennett.
Assists: SP-Julie Lynch, Kalli Bell.
Saves: PM-Marie Claire Cecinia 6; SP-Jaddah Foos.

POINTERS SLOW DOWN HIGH SCORING HUSKIES

While it was disputed by Patterson Mill coach Wes Rich that the Huskies’ path to the Class 1A boys’ soccer state championship match was an easy one, there’s no doubt whatsoever that they absolutely bulldozed their way to the finale against Sparrows Point.

Yet when the two sides clashed on the field Friday night at Loyola University Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex, the Pointers notched as many goals — both by midfielder Dylan Brown — in the first 21 minutes than the Huskies had given up in their previous four games playoff combined.

In wins over Colonel Richardson, Joppatowne, St. Michaels and International Langley, the Harford County school overwhelmed those opponents by a combined 23-2.

“I wouldn’t say it was easy at all,” Rich said. “We were just scoring a lot of goals.”

For whatever reason, the postseason barrage did not carry over to the match against Sparrows Point (11-8-1), a team that had to eke out a pair of 2-1 wins over Baltimore County rivals Loch Raven and Pikesville in order to earn a chance to claim their fifth state crown and first since 2006.

Behind Brown’s coming-out party Friday night against the Huskies, the Pointers’ third 2-1 victory of the postseason gave the school a sweep after the girls knocked off Patterson Mill, 3-0, in the first game of the doubleheader.

Brown was as surprised by his success in the season’s biggest game as anyone could be, considering he entered the fray with only five goals to his credit all season.

“I couldn’t stop crying after the game for so long,” the soft-spoken senior said. “Leading the team like this…..We’ve just gotten so close over the season — it means so much to win it all.”

Brown’s first goal came on a rebound after a well-struck 15-yard shot by senior forward Givoni Herring caromed off Patterson Mill senior keeper Ryan Jeon and toward the onrushing Pointer in the 12th minute.

“I saw Givoni running on the break,” Brown said. “And I kept running with him in case the ball came to me.”

Brown struck again midway through the first half when another parallel run — this time about 20 yards to the right of junior midfielder Ben Hester — paid off, big-time.

Hester, who only had one assist this season, placed a perfect pass to Brown’s feet on the dead run.

“I didn’t even think he saw me,” Brown said. “But it was perfect.”

Brown didn’t miss, and the Pointers, who coach Joe Lambert said hit a “rough patch” during the middle of the season, were ahead, 2-0.

The only response by Patterson Mill (11-8) came midway through the second half when junior midfielder Andrew Papageorgopoulos converted a penalty kick after being taken down in the box.

Sparrows Point sophomore goalie Nate Schoene had no chance to prevent Papageorgopoulos’ 11th goal of the year.

“You always get up when you get a PK and the whole team comes together,” senior forward Cameron Neumann said. “We knew we had to play faster and smarter after that, but it didn’t happen. We just came up a little short.”

Despite losing eight matches this fall, Lambert said he could feel his team gaining momentum as the playoffs loomed.

“You could see moments when we were beginning to click,” said last year’s VSN Girls Soccer Coach of the Year, who made the switch to the boys program this fall after leading the girls to three titles in three years. “We were showing glimpses of some really good stuff, although we weren’t always getting the results we wanted. But there were moments of brilliance in there, too.”

CLASS 1A BOYS SOCCER STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
(AT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND’S RIDLEY ATHLETIC COMPLEX)
SPARROWS POINT 2, PATERSON MILL 1

PM 0 1 — 1
SP 2 0 — 2

Goals: PM-Andrew Papageorgopoulos; SP-Dylan Brown 2
Assists: SP-Ben Hester.
Saves: PM-Ryan Jeon 3; SP-Nate Schoene 3.