FROSTBURG — The Mountain Ridge Miners, who reeled off 10 straight wins, went unbeaten in league play and came one game shy of a trip to the state tournament, were voted unanimous Cumberland Times-News area girls soccer champions.
The area title is the fourth in five years for Mountain Ridge, which also finished No. 1 in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The area championship trophy is sponsored by J-R’s Custom Screenprinting and Embroidery, Frostburg.
This year’s Mountain Ridge team finished 14-2-1 overall after a 3-1 loss to Brunswick in the Class 1A West Region championship game. The Miners were 12-1-1 during the regular season and won the Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference with a 7-0-1 record.
Not too shabby for a team that had only three seniors.
“When we first started the season, I’d have to say it would’ve been a surprise to win 14 games,’’ said Mountain Ridge coach Martha Mauzy. “But as the year went on and seeing the way the girls worked through the entire season, being able to win 14 games came as no surprise. They showed how hard they were willing to work. This was a very talented, unselfish group and a very pleasant team to work with.”
Mountain Ridge, 13-0-1 against area teams, won some games with offense, averaging four goals per game, and others with defense, allowing only 12 goals and getting nine shutouts.
They had only four games that were decided by one goal, and went 3-1 in those. The only blemishes on the record were to Brunswick, 2-1 to Washington (W.Va.) and a scoreless tie with Hampshire in the season opener.
The Mountain Ridge team that ended the season was nothing like the one that started it, Mauzy said.
“I don’t think we have had a team that has worked any harder than this one did, and probably none that showed greater improvement from Day 1 to the end of the season,’’ she said. “We had a really great season, led by three senior captains (Annabelle Hegeman, Carlie Lewis, Haylee Wilson) and I am very proud of this group of girls.
“We have a large number of juniors and some talented kids coming up, so I think the program will be pretty good in the future, too.”
The Miners’ top two scorers have a lot of playing time left. Freshman Niven Hegeman was fourth in the area in scoring with 18 goals and six assists and sophomore Lexie Metz was seventh with 12 goals and three assists.
Thirteen players scored goals this year. Annabelle Hegeman was ninth in the area with 11 goals and three assists. Casey Felker, a junior, was also among the area’s top 20 scorers with seven goals and five assists.
“We’ve had a variety as far as age groups go,’’ said Mauzy. “The older kids accept the younger kids. We’re very fortunate because that’s not always the case at some schools.”
The Miners defense led the area in goals allowed (0.70 per game), and over one 10-game span gave up only five goals and had six shutouts. Junior goalkeeper Chelsea Muir was tops in the area in save percentage at .883 (91 saves, 12 allowed) and shutouts (9).
Mountain Ridge opened its doors in the fall of 2007. Since then, the girls soccer team has run up an 84-14-4 overall record and a 41-2-3 record in the Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference. The Miners have won four area titles, four conference championships and two region championships. They finished second in the state in 2010.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at email@example.com