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Depleted Lancers find a way to win

09/13/2017, 12:00pm EDT
By Greg Swatek

Lancers still undefeated despite illness and injuries

WALKERSVILLE — Somehow, the Linganore girls soccer team found enough capable bodies. Somehow, the Lancers found a way.

Linganore beat Walkersville 1-0 in an evenly played match Tuesday night when sophomore Juliana Zeller tucked her shot inside of the far post with only seconds remaining in regulation.

“I thought the whistle was about to blow,” Zeller said.

Instead of two potential 10-minute overtime sessions and then a scoreless tie if a goal wasn’t scored, Zeller raised the Lancers’ record to 3-0-1 this season with her first varsity goal.

“It was probably the best feeling,” she said.

Zeller normally plays close to half of the match, if not more. But she was limited to only 15 minutes Tuesday because of cold symptoms.

Linganore was down to two substitutions at the end of the game because it has been ravaged by injuries in the last week.

Sophomore Brook Bennett, the rock of a young defensive line, suffered a grade-two ankle sprain and will likely miss the next six weeks. She is currently in a walking boot.

Junior midfielder Colleen Avila is currently using crutches to move around after rolling her ankle and separating her growth plate.

Senior Marie Tapscott and junior Lauren Maggi both sustained head injuries.

Tapscott, a forward/midfielder, was diagnosed with a concussion and is on the mend. Maggi, usually one of the first substitutes in the game, was thought to have suffered a concussion as well, but she was cleared, according to coach Howie Putterman.

Even Putterman declined to shake anyone’s hand because he is trying to fight off some sort of bug himself.

“I have never been hit [by injuries] like this before,” he said. “It’s been bad.”

Yet, the Lancers were able to hang around with Walkersville and find a way to win just in the nick of time.

With overtime looking inevitable, Zeller took a pass from junior midfielder Fiona Rowan on the left side of the goal box.

Zeller took one touch before a Walkersville defender made a challenge on the ball. But Zeller regained control, saw an opening at the far post and used her strong foot, the left, to deliver a win for Linganore.

“These girls are just doing what they need to do,” Putterman said. “They are finding ways to grit out results.”

To date, the Lancers have beaten Blake 3-0 and Poolesville 3-1. Both those results occurred Sept. 2 in the tournament they hosted. They also tied South Carroll 1-1 last Thursday.

Senior goalkeeper Maddie Cunningham has been huge for them so far, delivering a number of timely saves, including a few against Walkersville.

“She blocked eight [penalty kicks] in our tournament,” Putterman said. “She has really only given up one unlucky goal so far. She has come up big.”

Walkersville (0-3-1) has a strong defense as well, led by a fine sophomore goalkeeper in Jazzmin Salters, who kept the Lions in the game with a diving save in the closing minutes.

But Walkersville is still looking for its first goal of the season. The Lions played a scoreless tie with Tuscarora and also suffered a painful defeat to Marriotts Ridge that unfolded much like the Linganore loss. The game-winning goal was scored with roughly a minute and a half remaining.

“We have been battling everyone,” Walkersville coach Paul Bryan said. “Somehow, we need to create some opportunities and make something happen. We are really committed to defending. If we do that, we know we can be in every game. So far, we have been. We just need to keep improving. Things will eventually turn for us.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter : @greg_swatek

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