By Harry Lichtman
UPPER MARLBORO — Right after the Whitman Vikings boys soccer team won their MPSSAA 4A State Semifinal against Brockport, the Whitman girls soccer team took the pitch and also prevailed in their 1-0 victory over the Severna Park Falcons in their state semifinal matchup at Henry A. Wise High School.
The Lady Vikings entered the tournament as the best team in Montgomery County. On their road to the semis, they defeated the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Lady Barons, Churchill Lady Bulldogs, and Quince Orchard Lady Cougars.
The first half went back and forth. Both teams had some scoring opportunities, as well as turning the ball over. Whitman had a few shots that didn’t quite go in the net, with the game tied at 0-0 at the half.
The second half also contained some back-and-forth action for the first 20 minutes, as it looked like the game would head to overtime or penalties, much like the previous game played on that field.
However, midway through the half, Whitman junior midfielder Matilda MacKey attempted a shot that bounced off the crossbar, onto the head of sophomore Morgan Riso and into the net for the go-ahead goal.
“I was just thinking like, ‘I need to get this in and our team needs this,’” said Riso. “And I just used my head and put it in.”
“Morgan’s had a couple opportunities to get a goal this season, and it just has eluded her,” said Whitman head coach Greg Herbert. “So this kind of stage, after working all season coming off the bench and putting one in and making us advance to the next round, it’s just awesome to her.”
The Lady Falcons tried their best to tie it up in the last 20 minutes, but were unsuccessful, as the Lady Vikings defense did their job to lift their team to a 1-0 victory.
“It was a great win for our team,” said Herbert. “It’s a total team win. Something we harped about all season is making sure that everyone is committed to the same goal and giving a 100-percent effort for each other.”
Herbert also offered praise for the Vikings’ opponents from Anne Arundel County.
“A team that we played tonight like Severna Park is so well-coached,” he said. “So organized defensively, and we knew we knew we were in for a battle tonight, and I just think we did a great job of finishing our opportunities tonight.”
Despite the loss, Severna Park head coach Brian Morgan felt that his players fought very hard.
“The girls battled like they do all year,” Morgan said. “Little unlucky on the one goal, but those things happen. Credit to them. They played away.”
This was Morgan’s third year as head coach, as the group of sophomores from his first year have become seniors.
“I can’t say enough about this group,” said Morgan. “They’re amazing. It’s been a pleasure coaching them.”
Meanwhile, Whitman will now be playing the Perry Hall Gators in the Class 4A State Championship game, which will be held at Loyola University on Friday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m., right after the Vikings boys soccer team take on the Urbana Hawks.
“We don’t really know much about Perry Hall,” said Herbert. “They just scored 10 goals in the other state semifinal, so I know that they can score some goals.”