The Broadneck girls varsity soccer team became 4A East Region II champions on Tuesday night and will advance to the quarterfinals of the state championship.
No. 1 Broadneck faced rival and No. 2-ranked Severna Park at Lawrence E. Knight Stadium. Both teams and fans alike were full of energy and competition. The game was evenly matched and remained scoreless until late in the second half. With seven minutes left in regulation, Broadneck won the ball from Severna Park at midfield, and senior Brianna Sawyer passed to junior Sadie Wilkinson at the top of the 18-yard box. Wilkinson scored with a shot to the bottom left corner of the goal.
“After I scored, I was relieved that we were finally up a goal because we played all those minutes. I’m just glad we were able to score and be happy,” Wilkinson said.
Despite a renewed sense of urgency in the game’s remaining minutes, Severna Park was unable to get a goal past Broadneck senior goalkeeper Mason Smargissi. As the last whistle blew, the Broadneck girls stormed the field as regional champions.
Broadneck’s head coach John Camm, who has coached the team for 18 seasons, reflected on the game and was proud of the performance.
“We played well — a lot of composure, a lot of grit, a lot of tenacity,” Camm said. “You got the rivalry factor going on. It’s been a while since we’ve knocked [Severna Park] off in the playoffs, so we’re happy to get it done tonight.”
Éva Mowery, Broadneck senior team captain along with injured Molly Yeomans, attributes the Bruins’ success to two main factors: community and hard work.
“We’ve just had the chemistry that I feel like no other team has,” Mowery said. “We’re all best friends, which, I think, is why we have made it this far. Our work ethic the whole game was 110 percent. No one gave up on a ball. No one stopped playing.”
The future is bright for more than just this Broadneck team. Coach Rick Stimpson’s Severna Park girls team is young, with only two starting seniors. He explained that the roster typically has at least 10 seniors, so the next season “looks really good” for them.
“We have a lot of good kids coming back, so we will try to build on that next time,” Stimpson said. “I thought we played great. Obviously, the pain will be there for next year and we’ll use that as motivation.”
Further, the high school female soccer players are doing more than winning games; they are inspiring younger girls in their athletic goals. The game was attended by more than a dozen middle school ball girls, who play for the Broadneck Thorns soccer team.
Twelve-year-old defender Kingsley Armour said, “I take inspiration from Carly. We play the same position. She is really good and I want to be as good as her. I want to learn to be as aggressive as her.”
Carly Johnston, a senior at Broadneck High School, played center back during the regional final and made several crucial plays. After hearing Armour’s remarks, she was almost speechless.
“That actually means the world to me,” Johnston said. “It’s nice to get your work noticed, but I literally could not do anything out there without my teammates — from the goalie to the very top forward, even to the sideline and the bench. If the bench wasn’t as loud and as hype, we would not have gotten through that game.”
Broadneck will play its quarterfinal game this weekend. Wilkinson is excited and optimistic. When asked what is next for her team, she did not hesitate: “states is next, and winning it.”