The disappointment of last year’s successful season ending abruptly in a penalty-kick loss to Westminster in the Class 4A North Region quarterfinal round has been in the back of the Sherwood High School girls soccer team’s mind this fall.
The Warriors have practiced penalty kicks throughout the season and it paid dividends in Monday’s region final.
The second-seeded Warriors earned their first state tournament appearance with a 4-3 win over top-seeded Catonsville (Baltimore County) in penalty kicks.
“Going in [to penalty kicks this time] we were very confident,” Sherwood coach John Vukovich said. “Having shut out so many teams [and] having the best overall record in the county has propelled us to a higher level. The desire to win is there.”
The Warriors (13-1) were propelled into the region tournament with a 1-0 win over Class 4A West Region winner Bethesda-Chevy Chase.
Sherwood will face the four-time defending state champion Barons in Saturday’s state semifinals at Richard Montgomery.
The game was tied 1-1 after two overtimes despite Catonsville’s failure to score — Rebecca Dunwoody finished a feed from Lauren Woods and the Warriors’ defense scored on itself.
Hope Gouterman, Claudia Gomez and Amanda Pustis all converted on their penalty kick attempts and senior goalie Nikki Steiner came up with three saves to help clinch the win.
“The win over B-CC [in the season finale] was huge. We proved to ourselves that we could beat a top seed,” Vukovich said.