Park School girls’ soccer team lost home field advantage for Thursday’s IAAM C Conference semifinals, but the Bruins overcame the switch, the rain and, most importantly, Mount Carmel, winning in penalty kicks at Eastern Regional Park in Essex.
“The girls did a really good job handling the elements and they worked really hard all game long,” said Park coach Robert Piper.
Park seniors Aiden Piper, Sophie Defries and Lauren Sibel knocked in their penalty kicks while junior goalie Arianna Strome denied Mount Carmel as the Bruins move on to the IAAM C conference title game against Chapelgate Christian Academy, Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at Anne Arundel Community College.
Chapelgate Christian defeated St. Timothy’s, 4-0, in the other semifinal Thursday.
“I’m so excited that we are moving on to the championship game,” said Strome. “Mount Carmel is really tough and we feel so good that we were able to beat them.”
In the penalty kick round, the Bruins hit their first three shots while the Cougars were unable to connect on any of their attempts.
“Even though it was raining really hard we just put all of that behind us and played a great game,” said Piper, who scored the third and final goal for Park in the penalty kick round.
Mount Carmel came into Thursday’s game the top scoring offense in the conference with 58 goals while Park held its opponents to only nine goals for 2010 season.
Though the Cougars won many balls on the Park’s side of the field, the Bruins stopped Mount Carmel the entire game.
“We are a very good team defensively,” said coach Piper. “We feel that as long as we play good defense we can get one or two goals we can win the game.”
Abby Smith was center of attention for Park’s defense, but the Mount Carmel striker still managed to take five shots on goal.
“We knew that she [Smith] was going to be in position to take a lot shots,” said Strome, who stop Smith on a shot attempt in the first half. “As the game went on we just had to keep getting in her way to slow her down.”
“It all happened really fast,” said Strome of the first half save. “I just reacted to what was going on and made the save.”
Late in the game, Smith streaked past the Bruin defense and only had Strome to left to beat. As Smith readied her shot, Park’s Emily King hustled down the field and blocked the shot attempt.
“Once we got into overtime, we all started to get a little bit nervous,” said Defries. “But once things got started we settled down.”
The Bruins out shot Mount Carmel, 4-2, in both overtime periods, but could not cash in on their chances.
“We can’t wait to play in the conference championship, said Piper. “We feel really good about chances.”