Class 3A Girls Soccer State Final
Linganore (14-1-2) vs. Huntingtown (16-2)
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Ridley Athletic Complex, Loyola University
Road to Final: Overlooked and underestimated coming into the season, Linganore has reached its third state final in four seasons with wins over Tuscarora (2-0), Thomas Johnson (2-1 OT) and Westminster in the Class 3A West playoffs. Then, last Saturday, the Lancers turned back Bel Air 2-1 in a state semifinal to avenge a penalty-kicks loss to the Bobcats in the 2015 state final. Huntingtown, meanwhile, had to survive penalty kicks against Northern Calvert in the 3A South semifinals and a 1-0 victory over Atholton last Saturday in a state semifinal at Linganore High. The Hurricanes won their two other playoff games by 8-0 scores over Great Mills and City. Huntingtown, making its fourth appearance in a state girls soccer final, is seeking its second championship. The previous one was earned in 2011.
Top Players: Linganore — Fiona Rowan, jr., midfielder (7 goals, 8 assists); Haley Barge, sr., striker (23 goals, 3 assists); Maddie Cunningham, sr., goalkeeper (.90 save percentage, eight goals allowed); Ashley Yurich, sr., midfielder; Grace Pritchett, sr., striker; Bailey Bennett, fresh., striker; Juliana Zeller, soph., midfielder. Huntingtown — Mia Issac, jr., midfielder; Tori Minnigh, soph., midfielder; Camryn Milstead, sr., defender.
Outlook: Can Linganore's least-heralded team of the last four seasons be the one that finally breaks through to win the school's first state championship in girls soccer? The Lancers were agonizingly close in 2014 and '15, only to fall one win shy of the title. This team has called upon its grit, determination and a gigantic chip on the shoulder to put itself back in this position. When Linganore fell behind Bel Air 1-0 in the state semifinals, it took the Lancers just 31 seconds to respond with a goal by leading scorer Haley Barge. Roughly 10 minutes later, they had the lead when senior midfielder Ashley Zurich converted a penalty kick. Any time a challenge has been laid before them this season, they have found a way to respond. Their resolve figures to be tested one more time against a Huntingtown team that has won seven in a row and 11 of 12 coming. The Hurricanes have posted 11 shutouts this season and have not allowed a regulation goal in more than 560 minutes, not counting penalty kicks.
Quotable: "The girls and I are super excited to have this chance to finish what we started. It has been a long season, and we have been tested all year. Our determination and hard work has gotten us through some rough patches and tough bounces of the ball. But we are still here. No one expected this of us. Yet, we are still here." — Linganore coach Howie Putterman
"I think [Linganore] is very similar to the team we just beat [Atholton]. It's going to be a battle and a tough game. We are not expecting a cakewalk. I didn't leave [after watching Linganore play in the state semifinals] with a smile on my face." — Huntingtown coach Charlie Raphael