Friday, November 16, 2007

Girls' Soccer

Quince Orchard Completes Its Championship Quest
Cougars Defeat C.M. Wright in Penalty-Kick Shootout
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, November 16, 2007; E07

After a 1-0 loss to Leonardtown in last season's 4A state final, the Quince Orchard girls' soccer team talked all season about redemption.

The Cougars took a businesslike approach to the season, methodically winning 16 of 18 games entering last night's state final against C.M. Wright.

There was a muffled and uninspired celebration following the team's 4A West Region title victory, and the state semifinal win over Eleanor Roosevelt brought only a few smiles.

But last night's 1-0 win over C.M. Wright in a penalty-kick shootout finally brought the Cougars the release they'd been seeking for a full year. The emotions swelled, with several players in tears and others participating in a euphoric group jumping session.

"We've redeemed ourselves," said junior goalkeeper Amanda Whitney, who made two saves in the shootout to give the Cougars (17-2) their first state title since 2002.

The Cougars' march to a state title was a dominant one. They averaged 3.1 goals a game, allowed only 20 goals and shut out five opponents.

"It was all about getting back to the states this year," Quince Orchard coach Peg Keiller said. "They wanted to show that we are a better team than we showed last year."
C.M. Wright dropped to 13-5-1.

Senior defender Maureen McMeekin delivered the decisive goal of the shootout on a right-footed penalty shot to the top left corner of the goal.

"We haven't been working since preseason, we've been working since we lost that game last year," McMeekin said. "Every game was just another game to us until we got here."

After failing to connect on 13 shots during regulation and two overtimes, Quince Orchard buried three of its five penalty kicks and Whitney made two saves to help the Cougars past the Mustangs, 3-2, in the shootout.

Quince Orchard's Kayla Clarke and Emily D'Italia also connected on their penalty shots.
"I'm happy for Maureen McMeekin because she moved from midfield and selflessly went to defense after having scored a lot of goals for us," Keiller said.

McMeekin, who missed a penalty kick in a shootout loss two seasons ago, "never wanted to feel that way again," she said. "I never wanted to feel like I did when we lost states last year. I felt like we totally deserved this."

Sophomore forward Ele Margelos sent the Cougars' best chance screaming toward the goal in the fourth minute of the first overtime, but Mustangs goalkeeper Allison Kuchar made a diving save to keep the game scoreless.

Quince Orchard 1, C.M. Wright 0

Dominance: Since 1999, Quince Orchard has posted an 83-15-22 record en route to three division titles, two region titles and two state titles.

Ariel's Time: Cougars senior forward Ariel Nehemiah finished the season with 15 goals, six of them game-winners.

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