FROSTBURG — The top-seeded Mountain Ridge Miners, riding a 10-game winning streak, have one more hurdle to clear to get back to the Class 1A girls soccer state tournament.
Seventh-seeded and defending region champion Brunswick is that final hurdle, and the Miners and Railroaders battle today for the West Region championship at 5 p.m. at Mountain Ridge.
Mountain Ridge (14-1-1) has rolled through its season, the only bumps along the way being a scoreless draw with Hampshire in the season opener and a 2-1 loss to Washington (W.Va.) in September. Since that lone loss the Miners have gone 10-0 with six shutouts, scored 50 goals and allowed only four.
Coach Martha Mauzy’s team beat Allegany 5-0 and Smithsburg 3-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Brunswick (8-8-1) is 3-0 in the tournament, having beaten Hancock 9-0, Southern 4-3 and Clear Spring 1-0. The Railroaders’ record is deceiving as they began the season 0-4-1, and have gone 8-4 since.
Brunswick, 4-1 in its last five games, has scored 34 goals and allowed 30, but over the last seven games has scored 20 and allowed only six.
Fourteen Miners have either scored a goal or assisted on one. Freshman Niven Hegeman leads the way 18 goals and six assists. Senior Annabelle Hegeman and sophomore Lexie Metz have 11 goals and three assists each and Casey Felker, a junior, has seven goals and five assists.
Goalie Chelsea Muir has made 84 saves, allowed only nine goals and leads the area in save percentage at .903. The Miners defense has an area-leading nine shutouts.
Brunswick and Mountain Ridge have one common opponent in Southern Garrett. The Miners edged Southern 3-2 and 1-0. Brunswick also defeated Southern in a one-goal game, 4-3, in the region quarterfinals.
Mountain Ridge won back-to-back region titles in 2009 and 2010 and finished runner-up in the state tournament in 2010. Brunswick won its first region championship last year and finished second in the state tournament, losing to Manchester Valley 4-1 in the final.
The winner of tonight’s game advances to the four-team state tournament. The state semifinals are scheduled for Saturday at North County High School in Glen Burnie.