Linganore’s girls soccer team wasn’t going to get a multi-goal win out of stubborn Hereford on Saturday.
After outscoring its previous two opponents 8-1, the Lancers were going to have to settle for a one-goal win. Sammie Hoefs, who had missed a previous chance to head the ball into the Bulls’ goal off a Bailey Bennett corner kick, got another chance with another corner kick opportunity.
On her second try, Hoefs delivered, heading the ball into the back of net in the last six minutes of the first half off a corner kick from Bennett for the match’s lone goal.
From there, Linganore turned to its defense to hold off the Bulls for a 1-0 win in the Class 3A state quarterfinals at Linganore High School.
“On the first attempt, it came right to my head, and after it went to the far right post upper 90, I thought it was going in,” Hoefs said of her first miss. “Then we got another corner, so when she hit it, I kind of had this feeling [the defender] was going to do the same thing I did.”
When Bennett’s corner kick headed toward the mouth of the goal, a mix of Linganore and Hereford players followed the trajectory of the ball, moving to where it would land. Hoefs was in the mix of players, waiting for the right moment.
“I did what my coaches always taught me to do in practice,” Hoefs said. “Patiently, I waited for it. The other players went forward, the ball just came right to my head, and I headed it into the goal.”
Saturday’s win sends the Lancers (11-3-1) back to the 3A state semifinals next Saturday at Linganore. The Lancers face Northern of Calvert, which beat C. Milton Wright on Saturday. Linganore is seeking its second Class 3A state championship in the past three years.
The Lancers won the 2017 Class 3A state championship.
Hoefs’ goal was among the limited opportunities Linganore had against Hereford, which kept the Lancers pinned in their defensive third much of the match. The Bulls outshot the Lancers 11-8.
“They are probably the fastest, most fit team we’ve played all season,” Linganore coach Paige Pohopin said. “So I think it was kind of a wake-up call for the girls. They didn’t expect their girls to be so fast, but they were running the ball down all the time on offense. Honestly, I knew this was going to be a low-scoring game. I knew it was going to be close”
Because of the Bulls’ surprising speed, Pohopin turned to her bench, making more frequent substitutions than usual so she could have rested players on the field at all times.
The one Linganore player who was on the field the entire match was keeper Becca Morakovitz. She recorded the shutout with three saves. She also intercepted a Hereford cross, off a throw-in, in front of the goal, denying the Bulls a chance for an in-close shot.
Perhaps Morakovitz’s biggest defensive effort on Saturday was when she stopped a strong, direct free kick from 30 yards away in the second half.
“Oh my gosh, my heart was racing on that shot,” Pohopin said. “She made a great stop on that one. To be able to win this match and be able to play at home next week feels great.”