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Lady Seahawks top Panthers, fall to Raiders in 3A East Reg.

Girls finish 11-2-1; coach pleased with quality of soccer played this season

LISA CAPITELLI ¦ Assistant Editor


Stephen Decatur senior Tori Whigham, above right, challenges an Atholton player last Friday during the 3A East Regional semifinals in Berlin. (Right) Senior Brittney Calandra (16) sprints past two Atholton players. Calandra scored one of Decatur’s two goals in the 6-2 loss. 
OCEAN CITY TODAY/LISA CAPITELLI Stephen Decatur senior Tori Whigham, above right, challenges an Atholton player last Friday during the 3A East Regional semifinals in Berlin. (Right) Senior Brittney Calandra (16) sprints past two Atholton players. Calandra scored one of Decatur’s two goals in the 6-2 loss.OCEAN CITY TODAY/LISA CAPITELLI(Nov. 9, 2012) The Stephen Decatur girls’ soccer team battled its first opponent in the 3A East Regional tournament Nov. 1 — the seventh-seeded Annapolis Panthers, who won in penalty kicks over Centennial to advance to second-round action, where they faced the Lady Seahawks.

Second-seeded Decatur had earned a first-round bye in the tournament.

Senior Tori Whigham put Decatur on the board in the first half of last Thursday’s game in Berlin.

“We were having trouble finding the back of the net in the first half,” said Seahawk Coach Misty Bunting. “We calmed things down a little bit in the second half. We repositioned the girls and talked about where they needed to be on the field and then, boom-boom, we got two quick goals.”

Whigham earned a “hat trick,” scoring Decatur’s second and third goals in the second half.

“She was just a superstar tonight,” Bunting said after the Seahawks’ 3-1 victory in Berlin.

Senior Brittney Calandra assisted two of Whigham’s goals. One goal was assisted by sophomore Jillian Petito.

Bunting said junior goalie Ashley De- Paul was solid in the goal and came up with some big saves. She stopped nine Panthers’ shots.

“It was a great effort. I’m very proud of the girls,” Bunting said. “We are peaking at the right time.”

The next day, Nov. 2, the thirdseeded Atholton Raiders traveled to Berlin for competition. The Seahawks out-shot the Raiders 7-3 in the first 10 minutes of play, but then seemed to struggle.

“We had 20-25 minutes where we were off in the first half and they took it to us during that time,” Bunting said.

The Raiders led 5-0 when Calandra scored about two minutes before the halftime break.

Atholton tacked on a sixth goal midway into the second half. With just over seven minutes to play, freshman Alexis McDonough curved her corner kick into the net to cut the Raiders’ lead to four, but it was the final goal the Seahawks’ would score.

DePaul played in goal the first 30 minutes of the game before tweaking her already-injured ankle. She recorded four saves. Freshman Alexis Gausepohl relieved DePaul and stopped seven Atholton shots, including a penalty kick.

“We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. The girls played better in the second half, it just wasn’t enough,” Bunting said. “They had eight seniors starting and they were bigger and more experienced.

“We told the girls they have nothing to hang their heads about,” she said. “We had a fantastic season.”

The Seahawks finished with an 11- 2-1 record. Bunting said her players showed much improvement from last season. She was pleased with the quality of soccer the girls played this year and how they worked together.

“The way they improved and developed as a team was great to watch. It was the most coachable team we’ve had,” Bunting said. “We were deeper than we’ve been in the past, which was nice because we didn’t lose a step when we subbed. They’re a good group of girls and they made it fun. I’m really proud of them.”

Five seniors, including four starters, will graduate in May. Seven of this year’s starters were underclassmen: one freshman, three sophomores and three juniors. Half of Bunting’s 2012 roster consisted of ninth- and 10th-graders.

“We’re still young. The future looks bright,” she said.

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