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Washington Spirit and Seattle Reign FC fight to a draw

The Spirit’s Audrey Bledsoe shows how she became the keeper with the most saves in the NWSL, wrapping herself around the ball, preventing the attack of Reign forward Jodie Taylor. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEThe Spirit’s Audrey Bledsoe shows how she became the keeper with the most saves in the NWSL, wrapping herself around the ball, preventing the attack of Reign forward Jodie Taylor. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BOYDS — Saturday at the Maryland SoccerPlex, the Washington Spirit held the second-place ranked team in the National Women’s Soccer League to a score of nil. On the flip side, the visiting Reign FC held the Spirit to nil as well. Both teams walked away with a point in the standings.
Saturday must have been a day of miracles. On the opposite side of the globe in the World Cup competition, Iceland held off Argentina and the man of legends Lionel Messi for a 1-1 draw. Closer to home, the Utah Royals stunned the North Carolina Courage, the league leader in points for the NWSL, with a 1-0 win over the Courage in North Carolina. What a day for unexpected outcomes.
Back to the game at the Maryland SoccerPlex, the Spirit’s star keeper Audrey Bledsoe now leads the league with saves. Bledsoe continues to improve with each match, moving up the ranks of keepers in the NWSL. Although she embodies trace amounts of the looks and attitude of her mentor last season, Orlando Pride keeper Ashlyn Harris, she developed her own style on the pitch that works well. The draw against Seattle added another shutout to her record for a total of four for this season.

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Chicago Red Stars hand Washington Spirit another loss, 2-0

Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington SpiritBOYDS — Playing against a team that had a seven-game losing streak with a rookie keeper in the net, during an incredible downpour of rain, the Washington Spirit lost yet another match.
The Chicago Red Stars handed the Spirit another defeat, 2-0, on the Spirit’s home turf no less, and ready to start a winning streak. The Red Stars head back to Chicago with 3 new points towards improvement in the National Women’s Soccer League standings while the Spirit picked up zero.
Locally the weather has been nothing but wet all week and match day was no exception. Partly sunny skies during on field warmups turned cloudy when dark storm clouds marched in from the East. As the teams stood for the playing of the national anthem ready for the start of the game, the rain began.

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Sentinel wins News Organization of the Year

  • Published in News

The Sentinel square logoANNAPOLIS — Montgomery County Sentinel editorial staff took home three prestigious awards and dozens of others at the annual Maryland Delaware D.C. Press Association Conference Friday. 

The paper won the Association’s 2017 News Organization of the Year in its division, by earning the highest number of awards, for a third year in a row.

Sentinel staff earned a handful of awards for “Broken Promises - Bad Dreams, A Metro Investigation,” its months-long investigation of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The Sentinel tied with the Baltimore Sun to earn the James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award, one of the highest honors available.

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Utah Royals FC clean the pitch with the Spirit

Washington Spirit vs. Utah Royals FCThe Washington Spirit (1-3-2) fell to the first-year team of the Utah Royals FC (1-1-4) this past Saturday, 2-0, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. It was the first-ever win for the Royals and both goals came from players previously coached by Spirit Head Coach Jim Gabarra.
Using a Spirit tactic of scoring early, Utah forward Kelly O’Hara took a pass from fellow teammate Amy Rodriguez and slipped the ball into the back of the net past the Spirit’s defense, her first goal as a Utah Royals player. Before joining the Royals, O’Hara played for Sky Blue FC during Gabarra’s tenure as head coach of that National Women’s Soccer League team.
When halftime arrived, the score had not changed; it was still 1-0 in favor of the Royals.

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Despite resolve, NC Courage tops Washington Spirit, 4-2

Spirit forward Frannie Ordega dashes between Courage players Denise O’Sullivan (8) and Merritt Mathias (11), on her way to an on-target shot on goal, blocked by keeper Sabrina D’Angelo. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFESpirit forward Frannie Ordega dashes between Courage players Denise O’Sullivan (8) and Merritt Mathias (11), on her way to an on-target shot on goal, blocked by keeper Sabrina D’Angelo. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BOYDS — Perfect weather did not bring perfect play to a tight match between the Washington Spirit (1-2-0) and the undefeated North Carolina Courage (3-0-0). In front of 3400-plus spectators, the visiting Courage robbed the Spirit of a home match win by 4-2.
Experts predicted the Spirit would be doing well to score a single goal against a team that has allowed no goals scored against them during regular season play. The Spirit surprised everyone by not only being the first team to score against the Courage, they did it in the first three minutes of the match.
Spirit forward and U.S. international player Mallory Pugh broke the clean-sheet streak of the Courage with the Spirit’s first goal. Courage keeper Sabrina D'Angelo did everything she could to block the unassisted shot by Pugh, but there’s no shame in losing to one the world’s most formidable forward players.

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Washington Spirit wounds Orlando’s Pride, 2-0

Washington Spirit’s Mallory Pugh (11) moves the ball deftly towards the goal with Orlando Pride’s Ali Krieger (11) right behind her trying to end the run. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEWashington Spirit’s Mallory Pugh (11) moves the ball deftly towards the goal with Orlando Pride’s Ali Krieger (11) right behind her trying to end the run. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  In a startling outcome, the Washington Spirit (1-1-0) outplayed the Orlando Pride (0-1-1) this past Saturday in a 2-0 win over the visiting Orlando team. Playing in front of 4,989 spectators, the Spirit played a back-and-forth match of relatively even moves with the Pride until the 80th minute.
The Pride, failing to mark U.S. international player Mallory Pugh as tightly as they had earlier in the match, opened a canyon of space for Pugh. Pugh, with possession of the ball off a pass from Ashely Hatch, did what she usually does: maneuver the ball faster and better than everyone else on the pitch.
Pugh outran the Pride’s Alex Krieger, who was closing in from behind. She outpaced,Canadian international player Shelina Zadorsky, the Pride’s center back defender, who ran parallel to Pugh but unable to get close enough. At the last moment of open space between her and the net, she lit off a shot that nutmegged keeper Ashlyn Harris and stopped in the back of the net. She scored the first goal of the match in the 80th minute. The Spirit were ahead 1-0 over the Pride.

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Seattle Reigns over Washington Spirit

Spirit vs. ReignThe opening NWSL regular season match for the Washington Spirit (0-1-0) and the Seattle Reign FC (1-0-0) went well for Seattle as they topped the Spirit 2-1 in Seattle this past Saturday in front of 3,561 fans.
While the Spirit dominated the possession of the ball for the entire match, they could not hold off the Reign from scoring twice in the first half. The first goal was on a free kick by Seattle Reign forward Megan Rapinoe. When Allie Long was fouled in the final third of the third of the field, Rapinoe took the kick. She bent the ball over a wall of Spirit players and into the high left corner of the net. The ball passed just out of reach of the Spirit keeper Aubrey Bledsoe who launched herself with no hope of a gentle landing at the incoming ball. Reign 1, Spirit 0.
Rapinoe’s free kick showed why she is a leading striker, globally, in the world of women’s professional soccer. Throughout the first half, Rapinoe made space for herself often leaving her unmarked by the Spirit defense. The Reign took full advantage of that oversight and fed Rapinoe the ball often. In the 35th minute Rumi Utsugi laid a ball off to Rapinoe who fed it to English international forward Jody Taylor. Taylor’s light foot on the shot to goal had enough pace to not be sufficiently deflected by Bledsoe’s dive to stop it. The Reign scored again, marking two goals on the sheet and Spirit holding tight at 0.

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DC United play Houston Dynamo to a draw

Houston Dynamo vs. DC UnitedIn front of a standing-room only crowd, the first-ever Major League Soccer regular season game for the DC United (0-1-2) at the Maryland Soccerplex on Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds, DC United came to a 2-2 draw against the Houston Dynamo (1-1-1).
Spectators packed the stadium in spite of the cold, windy weather spitting snow throughout the match. Good weather or bad, DC United fans are a hardy group willing to travel to northern Montgomery County to see their team play.
Commentators from other news sources predicted DC United would likely have the lowest attendance ever for a MLS game. Instead, DC United played an exciting match against Houston Dynamo in front of a crowd of 5,158.
Playing in a series of snow squalls that rolled through the match, Houston was the first to score a goal, as Alberth Elis scored the first goal of the match in the 30th minute, unassisted. Elis provided the assist for the second goal of the match when Mauro Manotas scored for the Dynamo, placing them 2-0 over DC United. The chances of winning the match did not look good for DC United going into the locker room at halftime.

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Catonsville girls trounce Paint Branch in 4A North Regionals

  • Published in Sports

Katerra Myers splits two Perry Hall defenders driving the lane to put one on the backboard.  Her shot missed the rim but the rebound snagged by Amele Ngwafang went through the net.  PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEKaterra Myers splits two Catonsville defenders driving the lane to put one on the backboard. Her shot missed the rim but the rebound snagged by Amele Ngwafang went through the net. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BURTONSVILLE — The defending state champion Catonsville Comets varsity girls basketball team strode into the Panthers Den Saturday and emerged as the 4A North Regional champions after throttling the Paint Branch Panthers, 78-42.

The staunch Comet defense proved to be too much for the Panthers to handle. Catonsville neutralized Paint Branch center Amele Ngwafang, throwing the senior off of her game and forcing her into foul trouble. Even though the Radford University commit still led her team with 14 points, most of those points were earned at the free throw line.

Meanwhile, Catonsville senior guard and University of Delaware commit Jasmine Dickey ran roughshod over the Panthers, creating turnovers and landing easy layups nearly every time she dashed down the court. Dickey led all scorers with 26 points and in the process, entered the Maryland state history books as she registered her 2000th high school career point.

“I really didn’t know,” said Dickey of her achievement. “It feels great because I know not a lot of people get it.”

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Sherwood boys defeat Northwest to claim ice hockey championship

  • Published in Sports

Sherwood’s Joey Doris cuts hard behind the net to regain control of the puck. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFESherwood’s Joey Doris cuts hard behind the net to regain control of the puck.                 PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  ROCKVILLE — This is not the underdog ice hockey story you are looking for.

The Sherwood Warriors, who were at the top of the leaderboards with a 14-1-1 record, defeated the Northwest Jaguars 5-1 in the Maryland Student Hockey League championships.

The Jaguars were textbook underdogs. This season was the first season for their ice hockey team and they had a 4-9-1 record, good enough to land them second-from-last in the regular season table.

“Scoreboard doesn’t reflect it but they were in it until the very end,” said Jaguars head coach Ed Hughes on his team’s loss.

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