All good things must come to an end. Even a record-setting season for the College of Southern Maryland women’s soccer team.
The most winningest campaign in Hawks history failed to continue breaking ground on Nov. 2 when they were edged by Essex, 1-0, in the Region XX championship game at Harford Community College.
Fresh off capturing their second Maryland Junior College Conference crown on Oct. 19, last attaining such a banner in 2000, the Hawks (11-4-1 overall) were highly confident they could claim the outfit’s first regional title eight days later amid a celebrated year that featured the most wins and best win percentage in program history.
But defensive-minded Essex, which battled the Hawks to a 1-1 tie during the regular season in late September, notched a first-half goal in the 28th minute and made the slim lead hold up the rest of the way against a Hawks offense that had been explosive, scoring 34 goals in its previous seven contests that were all wins.
The last time the Hawks had not won prior to the regional final was the previous clash at home with Essex in September.
“It was definitely disappointing,” CSM head coach Adam Sanchez said of the tight season-ending setback. “Anytime you fall short of your goals, it’s a disappointment. The girls were visibly upset.
“At the same point, this shows the great progress of the program. We expected to win that game. I don’t think you could say that about CSM teams in the past.”
As the top seed in the region, CSM automatically earned a spot in regional final of the three-team tournament. Essex was seeded third and knocked off No. 2 Harford two days earlier in the regional semifinals via penalty kicks to advance to the final.
The Hawks won the Maryland JUCO with a 6-1-1 mark while Essex (9-6-2) was fifth in the nine-team league at 4-3-1 during the regular season.