Calvert girls top Southern, claim second-ever 2A South Region crown
By AJ MASON
Hail to the Calvert girls soccer team for finally overcoming its playoff nemesis.
Hail to the Calvert sophomore midfielder for being clutch in Tuesday night’s Class 2A South Region girls soccer championship game versus Southern of Anne Arundel County.
Hailey Williams was clutch, tallying two second-half goals in a seven-minute span to help propel the third-seeded Cavaliers to their second-ever regional title victory in 2-1 fashion.
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Williams said. “Our goal was to get to states and we knew we had to get through Southern. When I scored those goals, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. I received some great crosses and was just at the right place at the right time.”
Southern had defeated Calvert in back-to-back postseasons heading into the matchup, but it was the Cavaliers getting over that hump this time around.
“The last two years they beat us in the playoffs and that left a bad taste in our mouth,” Lister said. “We have different systems, and all the girls understand what they need to do. Our midfield played really strong tonight.
The last time that Calvert (12-1-2 overall) won the regional crown was in 2002.
The Cavaliers will take on 2A East Region champion Fallston of Harford County in the state semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Harford County’s Bel Air High School in Bel Air. Fallston defeated Parkside of Wicomico County, 4-0, in its regional title game.
Heading into Friday’s state semifinal, Calvert has scored 89 goals this season and yielded just seven.
“Southern is a very talented team and we knew what they were going to bring it,” said Lister, whose team scored a combined 24 goals in shutout wins over No. 6 Largo and No. 2 Douglass, both of Prince George’s County. “They possessed really well, but we were patient and waited for our opportunities to come. We are going to celebrate tonight, but it’s back to work in practice [tomorrow]. We have to get prepared for Fallston.”
With Southern bringing a lot of defensive pressure, sophomore speedster Ali Higgs dribbled to the corner, crossed a pass over to the front of the goal, and Williams knocked a shot in to tie the game at 1.
“When I tied the game, I couldn’t even believe it and that gave us a lot of confidence at that point,” Williams said. “That was a big deal since we were down 1-0 at halftime.”
Seven minutes later, Williams struck again, as she received a wonderful cross from junior Brooke Bailey and nailed a shot past Bulldogs freshman goalkeeper Joey Lyons. Lyons finished with five saves, four coming in the second half.
“Calvert dominated us in the air, we were lucky to go into halftime up 1-0,” Southern head coach Brooke Walsh said. “We had some chances, but Calvert is a good team, we knocked them out of the playoffs the last two years, so they wanted it.”
Williams’ goal capped off the scoring on the night as the Calvert crowd was up on its feet.
“When the second goal went through, I couldn’t believe it,” Williams said. “I just started running after the ball went in the back of the net. Southern had beat us the in the playoffs the last few years, so to come back tonight was a big deal.”
Helped by Williams, the Cavaliers outshot Southern 15-6 in the game.
“We are blessed with talent on this team and we looked for Hailey to capitalize on her chances and she did,” Lister said. “We moved her up top and she came up big for us tonight.”
Fifth-seeded Southern (11-6) took a 1-0 lead in the first nine minutes of the game when senior Alex Wetherholt ripped a shot from 20 yards out that deflected right off the hands of senior goalkeeper Rachel King (4 saves).
“Since we were freshmen, we have been working to get to this point,” King said. “God gave me the strength and the ability to help lead this team as a senior. Southern beat us the last two years, so now it’s our time we are going to states. The defense kept the pressure up and Hailey’s goals were amazing.”
Southern defeated Patuxent 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals and Gwynn Park of Prince George County, the region’s top seed, 6-2, in the semifinals.
“Overall I’m very proud of my team, we had a very good season,” Walsh said. “Hats off to Calvert and good luck to them in states.”