Amanda Johnson couldn’t have chosen a more memorable time to score her first varsity goal.
The sophomore, who was recently promoted to Huntingtown High’s girls’ varsity soccer team, supplied the only score of the game in the 68th minute as the Calvert County school defeated the fifth-ranked C. Milton Wright, 1-0, in Class 3A state semifinal game at CCBC-Essex Saturday afternoon
After senior goalie Jenna Bowen failed to clear junior Micaela Antzoulatos’s corner kick, Johnson found the ball at her feet inside of 18 feet in a swarm of players. The right-footed shot eluded Bowen’s reach for what would turn out to be the game’s lone goal, and send the Hurricanes (15-2 overall) to the state championship game at UMBC where they will meet No. 12 Reservoir, Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
“I was just there at the right place at the right time,” said Johnson. “We had tried so hard and it finally went through. It shows that we need to continue to work hard because it pays off – we are going to states.”
“I think actually our goalie was calling for it, and our player may not have gotten out of the way in time and nicked it a little bit,” said C. Milton Wright coach Paul Austin. “And then it hit off her head and it just laid right there in front and the girl finished.”
First-year Huntingtown coach Jill Twetten credits her squads ability to finish more plays in the second half as the defining factor in the victory.
“We worked all season on finishing and they’ve come a long way. That was kind of the hole in our team,” said Twetten. “We had that edge in the second half. We put it to them a little bit more and I’m very proud of them.”
C. Milton Wright (16-2-1) had an opportunity to even the score with just over three minutes remaining, but sophomore Kelsey Targarona’s free kick did not challenge junior goalkeeper Shelby Taylor as it soared over the crossbar.
“Our school has never been to the states finals for soccer. It seems like we’ve always come here and just gotten knocked out,” said Taylor, whose team had lost in three previous trips to the state semifinal round. “But this time we feel like it is our year. This time were going to make history.”
Taylor finished with seven saves for the clean sheet. Bowen stopped six shots for the Mustangs in the losing effort as the UCBAC champs were denied a shot at their first state crown since 2005.
“You get this far you got to put at least one of those away. Ultimately that’s what hurt us,” said Austin. “When you get this far you want to play one more game so it’s disappointing we didn’t get to play in one more.”