DEFENDING COUNTY CHAMPS PICK UP WHERE THEY LEAVE OFF; PERRY HALL GIRLS SOCCER BEATS HEREFORD 3-2 IN SEASON OPENER BEHIND TWO GOAL EFFORT FROM PRE-SEASON ALL-AMERICAN KAMRYN WILLIAMS
Sept 6, 2022 - For the first 40 minutes of Tuesday's home and season opener, the Perry Hall Girls Soccer team beared little resemblence to last year's county champions.
Despite an early goal, the Gator Girls were thoroughly outplayed by visiting Hereford, and fortunate to trail only 2-1 at the half. The Gators couldn't string together passes and at times stopped trying, instead resorting to long-ball tactics.
But the second half would be another story altogether. At the half, "We talked about trust", said 11th Head Coach Matt Smoot. "About having the courage to trust each other."
Just a minute into the 2nd half, it was obvious the team took that to heart. With a rocket for a foot and a clear look at goal, Williams almost always shoots, as she should. Being so lethal from distance, however can at times cause the unintended consequence of teammates standing and watching. Not this time.
Opposite wing, senior Mya Friedenberg trusted Williams enough to make the deadly off-ball far post run coaches long for but seldom receive. With Friedenberg at full-sprint, Williams chipped a cross far post, over the Hereford keeper, and watched as her teammate headed the ball into the back of the net.
Just two minutes later, Towson commit Maddy Hall quarterbacked a long pass to Williams in the attacking third and watched last year's All-State, and this year's National Pre-season All-American score what would be game-winner from 25 yards out.
Although there was no additional scoring, Perry Hall totally dominated play the rest of the game, keeping possession for almost the entire final five minutes of the game.
After some miscommunication in the first half, the Perry Hall defense, led by seniors Xondi Neal and Maddy Hall, was a fortress in the second, keeping Hereford without a single quality scoring opportunity the entire second half. CB Neal was dominant, winning tackle after tackle, often not allowing Hereford strikers to even turn to face goal, let alone get a shot off. CDM Hall, while feeling out the offensive transition from CB to CDM, was literally unbeatable on defense, seemingly daring the Hereford attack to take her on, only to win a tackle the moment they tried.
At the 10' mark, Williams played give and go with fellow senior CAM/ST Madeline Lebhar, and after Williams easily beat the keeper after outrunning the defense to chase down a gorgeous thru-ball from Lebhar, it looked like 2021 all over again. Little did they know they would need such a Herculean effort from so many to pull off a comeback win.