If not for the last five minutes of Broadneck’s 2-1 girls soccer victory over Annapolis on Wednesday, one might have thought it was a fully controlled, composed victory for the Bruins.
For 75 minutes, they were indeed comfortable. But it took a last-minute save from Kyleigh Bland and some resilient defending for Broadneck to finally see off the Panthers and advance to Friday’s 4A East Region II semifinal matchup at Leonardtown.
“I think we’ve been in these types of situations before, so we know what to do and are able to stay calm about it,” said Broadneck senior Olivia Orso, who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal just before halftime. “We have to give props to Annapolis, though; they gave it a great fight (until the end).”
Orso scored the second of Broadneck’s goals on a breakaway, while Mia Orso netted the opener on a 30-yard free kick that snuck just under the crossbar.
From there, Broadneck carried possession but didn’t create many clearcut opportunities. Similarly, long shot after long shot flew well wide from Annapolis, until five minutes were left in the game, when Ellie Portillo fired a snapshot from the top of the penalty area that caught the entire defense by surprise and nestled just inside Bland’s far post.
From there, the Panthers pressed for the equalizer, and Portillo had a chance to square the match shortly thereafter. But Bland got to the ball first, the two players tangled in the aftermath, and Broadneck’s lead was finally secure.
“I saw it was the same girl who had just scored on me, and I knew she had a chance to score again, so it was now or never,” Bland said of smothering the ball before Portillo could get a shot off. “We were a little shocked (by the sudden turn of events), but we were able to stay focused and hold on.”
The Bruins had one chance to ice the match, but Olivia Orso was denied a second goal on another breakaway just before the final whistle.
Broadneck once again faces Leonardtown in the region tournament, but the Bruins are in somewhat unfamiliar territory in Friday’s showdown: on the road, as the underdog. But the Bruins are relying on building momentum from Wednesday’s game and taking that against Leonardtown, which had a bye.
“The girls played hard, and we’re happy with the effort,” said Bruins coach John Camm. “Leonardtown is good, and they haven’t beaten us in a while, so we know they’ll be up for it. But if we play the way we can, anything’s possible.”
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