Cumberland Times-News

Mike Mathews - Sports

November 12, 2009

Let them eat cake; they’ve earned it

They walked along the sidelines, headed to the fieldhouse, with smiles on their faces and cupcakes in their hands.

The Mountain Ridge girls soccer team had plenty to celebrate Tuesday night. And it was pretty unanimous, judging by the looks on their faces: Sixteen was sweet, but 17 was even sweeter.

This day wouldn’t soon be forgotten. The Lady Miners etched their names further into the area recordbook with their 17th straight victory. It came on co-captain Shyler Phillips’ birthday, which was, fittingly, her 17th.

No area girls soccer team has ever had a perfect season, the closest being Bishop Walsh (17-1) in 2002.

Tracking down the records of teams over the many decades of boys soccer is a more challenging task. No team in the past 40 years has had a perfect season, and only one has ever had an undefeated state-championship season, that being Beall (18-0-1) in 2004.

The Mountain Ridge girls stand just two wins from the top of the mountain. They seem to know exactly what it takes to scale that mountain, too

“I knew we could do it,’’ said Phillips. “Mr. Bishields (assistant coach) kept telling us you have to want it. It’s not something that’s impossible, but you have to work at it and really want it.”

Mountain Ridge (17-0) plays Loch Raven (12-4-1) Saturday in the state semifinals at North County High in Anne Arundel County.

Many things stick out about this team. One is how the players switch positions on the fly so well, and for extended periods of time, and not miss a beat.

There are no “defensive players” or “offensive players.” Just players ... who happen to do everything. Fifteen have scored goals or been credited with assists.

Janelle Walbert, a senior co-captain, is listed on the roster as a midfielder. She says she considers herself a bit more as a defender. But there she was, getting the assist on the first goal in the region championship game Tuesday night.

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Mike Mathews - Sports
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