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(Enlarge) Reservoir goalie Megan Fowler punches out a Huntingtown corner kick during the 3A state championship game at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Retriever Stadium Nov. 18. (Staff photo by Matt Roth)

Katlyn Axenfeld's goal put Reservoir in the winning column, but it was a team effort that won a state championship.

Axenfeld's goal, a curving shot over the outstretched fingertips of Huntingtown keeper Shelby Taylor with less than five minutes left in the first half, was the only score in the Class 3A girls soccer final at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Reservoir's 1-0 shutout over Huntingtown Nov. 18 is the school's first state championship -- boys or girls -- in soccer. (The boys team won its first title a day later.)

Axenfeld was as surprised as anyone that the goal settled into the upper corner -- or in the net at all.

"I didn't see it," said Axenfeld, who didn't realize she had scored until her teammates started running toward her in celebration. "They told me the goalie brushed it," said the senior center midfielder.

"That was a beautiful corner kick," Huntingtown coach Jill Twetten said.

Huntingtown "was marking (Megan Jackson and myself) so tight that we knew we needed someone else to score," said Amanda Jackson. The sisters have 21 goals between them this season. "When Katlyn scored, it caught them off-guard."

Although Reservoir dominated the first half, Huntington picked up the pressure in the second half. Reservoir keeper Megan Fowler made four saves -- and all came in the last minutes of the game.

Fowler punched out two back-to-back corner kicks within seconds around the 10-minute mark, and Megan Jackson headed out a third corner kick. With four minutes left, Fowler made another save on a corner kick and, a minute later, saved a long shot from Melissa Sweredoski.

Huntingtown had two more corners in the last two minutes.

"We've had trouble finishing" all season, Sweredoski said. But, she added, in the second half, the team "felt a sense of urgency." After being down just one goal, "We realized, hey, we're still in this game."

"The corner kicks were tough. Megan did a great job punching out the ball," said left back Delany Reiff, a freshman defender who rejected three straight shots by Huntingtown 15 minutes into the second half as the Hurricanes were stepping up their game.

Reservoir's defense gave up one goal during the five playoff games, and that one tally was scored by Howard in the first round of regional play.

Reservoir lost to Tuscarora last year in the championship game, but the Gators, who finished at 15-3-1, learned a lesson.

"We needed to come here and be serious," said Axenfeld, explaining that just getting to the championship game was enough for last year's team.

"Our goal this year was not just to get here but to win. We were so focused this year," Amanda Jackson said.

The Gators' motto was "to play with the feet, but win with your heart," senior midfielder Katherine Tuttle said.

"We were out here last year, same situation, super excited that we got to states," she said. "This year our mental set was that we were going to win. There was no other option."

This team, Tuttle added, leaves a legacy for others to build on.

"I want (future players) to remember how hard we worked but also how well we worked together as a team."

This story has been updated.


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