Petito’s Four Goals Lead Seahawks To Bayside Title

Petito’s Four Goals Lead Seahawks To Bayside Title
decatur girls celebrate title

BERLIN- Senior captain Jillian Petito’s fourth goal on the game, on her birthday no less, gave Stephen Decatur’s girls’ varsity soccer team a dramatic 5-4 sudden death overtime win over Queen Anne’s in the Bayside Conference championship game at Wicomico County Stadium on Tuesday.

Decatur, which claimed the Bayside South title last week with a big win over rival Parkside, entered the conference championship game against Queen Anne’s on Tuesday with a near perfect record, it’s only non-win a tie with the Rams earlier this month. Queen Anne’s would prove to be a tough test for the Seahawks, however, and the back-and-forth contest was not settled until Petito scored her fourth and final goal just three minutes into the overtime period on her 17th birthday.

Decatur scored first on a lofted shot by Petito just 11 minutes into the championship game, but Queen Anne’s tied it at 1-1 about four minutes later. Petito tallied again, giving the Seahawks a 2-1 lead, but again Queen Anne’s had the answer with a goal with just four minutes remaining in the first half to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the intermission.

After the fast and furious first half, both teams came out fired up in the second half in what was becoming a tense, physical battle. Both teams had great opportunities early in the second half, but neither could break through. Queen Anne’s took its first lead of the game about 15 minutes into the second half at 3-2. A little over a minute later, Decatur’s Brigitte Ardis tied the game at 3-3.

Just over a minute after that tying goal, Petito put the Seahawks ahead again at 4-3 with an unassisted goal, her third of the game. Decatur clung to the 4-3 lead as the clock ticked down in the second half, but Queen Anne’s scored the tying goal with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

The last four minutes played out with neither team able to break through and the game headed to sudden death overtime with the Bayside Conference championship hanging in the balance.

About three minutes into the overtime period, Decatur’s Lexie VanKirk had a throw-in into the box and Petito found the ball in heavy traffic and was able to fire the winning shot into the Lions’ net.

The game-winner touched off a wild celebration for the Seahawks, who had claimed their first Bayside Conference championship in 11 years. The Seahawks won the conference championship in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003. Decatur’s title win continued the Bayside South’s dominance in the conference championship games. The Bayside North has only won once title since the series began in 1997, and that win came from Queen Anne’s in 2009.

With the win, the Seahawks crossed another major goal off their list for 2014. The team went unbeaten, it’s only blemish a 1-1 tie late in the season with Parkside, and also won the Bayside South title. Decatur’s record now stands at 12-0-1 on the season heading into the state regional tournament, where they will be the top seed in their sectional.