Perry Hall sought a fast start in Tuesday night’s Baltimore County girls’ soccer championship game and the ninth-ranked Gators got it. However, despite dominating play early, Perry Hall eventually found itself facing a 1-0 deficit to cross-town rival Dulaney.

But, time was on the Gators’ side and eventually their superior play-making ability won out, as they scored four unanswered goals on their way to a 4-1 victory in front of a boisterous crowd at Franklin’s McWilliams Stadium. It was the 11th consecutive win for the Gators (11-1).

“I thought earlier on we dominated,” said Perry Hall first-year head coach Rick Testerman.  ”We had 10 shots on goal before they (Dulaney) even got the ball across midfield.”

Testerman’s squad, despite its constant pressure in the offensive end, found Dulaney (7-6) goalkeeper Lauren Guelzow a formidable foe in the early going, as she saved everything coming her way. When the Lions were finally got an opportunity on the Perry Hall end, they made it count.

Moving the ball downfield with a couple of quick passes, the Lions found captain Kara Burke, who dazed the Gators by finding the back of the net to give Dulaney the first goal of the evening.

The score energized the Lions and they suddenly seized control of the pace and put several nice shots on Perry Hall goalkeeper Emily Shandruk (five saves). The momentum carried the Lions to the half with the lead, but they were not able to stretch their advantage.

The second half found Perry Hall regaining its earlier form, but this time, their shots began to find the inside of the net. With an open lane in front during the 49th minute, Preslie Quaranta was fed a pass by her sister Alex and she kicked the ball in from eight yards out to tie the game at one.

“I was so excited, I saw my sister and was running up the field with the ball and I had to anticipate it coming my way, “ said Quaranta about the goal.  “When it went into the back corner of the net, I was so happy because it put us back in the game.”

Five minutes later Paige Tolson found junior striker Lea Riston for another goal, putting Perry Hall ahead 2-1, and the Gators were on their way.  They iced the victory with scores from Jamie Sokolis and Daniyln Brock in the game’s final 11 minutes.

Testerman said he was confident things would fall into place in the second half.

”We just needed the halftime to relax and get back into our game,” said the Gators’ head coach.  “I asked them if they doubted themselves.  They said no, and I said neither do I, so lets go do it.”

The county title was the first for the Perry Hall girls since 2005 and sends the Gators into the state playoffs on a championship note.  It also solidified the school’s standing as the soccer capital of Baltimore County, at least for 2010, completing a championship sweep by the girls’ and boys’ programs on both the varsity and junior varsity levels.

“To sweep like that says a lot for the program,” said Testerman.

Perry Hall plays Westminster Monday evening in the Class 4A North Region quarterfinals. Dulaney travels to Thomas Johnson in another 4A North Region quarterfinal Monday.

No. 9 Perry Hall 4, Dulaney 1
Perry Hall
D-Burke; PH-P. Quaranta, Ritson, Sokolis, Bock.
PH-Tolson 2, A. Quaranta.
D-Guelzow 8; PH-Shandruk 5.