Preparation was a big part of why the Urbana High School girls’ and boys’ soccer teams brought state championship trophies back to the Ijamsville school in November, The Hawkeye reports.
One week before Thanksgiving at the Ridley Athletic Complex on the campus of Loyola University, the boys’ 3A team from Urbana defeated Mount Hebron, 1-0, and the 3A girls’ team defeated Northern Calvert, also 1-0, and both Urbana teams claimed their second state title in their respective sports, according to the records published by the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association, or MPSSAA, which sanctions the state tournament.
The boys’ final was a bit of an aberration. The game was tied at the half.
“We had plenty of opportunities off of throws, corners and free kicks. And to their credit, they defended them very well,” the Howard County Times quoted Mt Hebron goalie Torey Jones, who finished with five saves, as saying. “And I thought we defended them very well as well. I think we defended hard.”
But Urbana kept up the pressure in front of Jones’s net, and eventually, as Mt Hebron’s Johnny Linsenmeyer kept one Urbana attack after another away from the goal, a free kick by Urbana’s Mike Maier would end that protective streak. Writes Logan Arneson in the Hawkeye, the student newspaper at Urbana:
With the game tied at 0-0, Urbana took a shot on goal during the second half [and Linsenmeyer] quickly blocked it, but the blocked kick flew directly into their own goal, sending Urbana up 1-0. It was now a matter of keeping the ball out of their own net for the remainder of the game, which Urbana successfully did, earning us the state title.
“It came down to whoever wanted to win more, whichever team had more grit and was more conditioned would be the team to come out on top,” Mr Arneson quoted senior midfielder Kyle McQuillen as saying, adding that with both the boys’ and girls’ teams making it to the state final, the teams tended to feed off of each other’s support. “It’s really awesome, because we both have been playing back-to-back games, and there was a lot of support coming from both teams.”
The girls’ final was won on a goal early in the first half, kicked in by Urbana’s junior midfielder Caitlin Shepherd.
“Our team was as prepared as it could get,” the student newspaper quoted senior midfielder Casey Ballow as saying about the championship run. “After [viewing] our scouting report of our opponent, we had gone over every small detail at practice to ensure we got a result.
“Going to states and winning is an awesome feeling,” she added. “It’s even better to be able to share this experience with the boys’ team.”