After eight years of regional titles, six consecutive state championships, and over 30 straight payoff wins, the Sparrows Point girls soccer team reached the point where it didn’t have anything left.
The Pointers were stunned by Eastern Tech 1-0 in the Class 2A North Region II final on Oct. 29.
It was the first postseason loss for Sparrows Point since falling to Brunswick in the 2012 Class 1A state semifinals. It was the first time since 2010 the Pointers did not win the regional title.
The Mavericks took a 1-0 lead with 28 minutes remaining after a direct kick bounced off a Sparrows Point player and into the goal.
The Pointers launched a furious assault on the Eastern Tech goal, but failed to produce many good scoring opportunities.
In the end, a shorthanded Pointer squad that played most of the season with only three players on the bench appeared to just get worn out.
Sparrows Point lost one of its key returning players, Alaina Jacurak, before the season started. Then star midfielder Jade Weir went down with a knee injury and missed the playoffs.
“I do think the injuries caught up to us,” Sparrows Point coach Lori Sexton said. “We had a small squad this year to begin with, and then to be two starters down by the end of the season ... it forced us to reconfigure on the field which left us short-staffed on offense.”
Still, Sparrows Point was 10-1-1 during the regular season, its only loss being by 1-0 to a private school, Notre Dame Prep. The Pointers also won the Baltimore County championship for the fifth time in six years.
But it couldn’t get past Eastern Tech, a team which entered the playoffs with a 5-6 record.
The Mavericks took inspiration from only losing to Sparrows Point 1-0 during the regular season.
“We weren’t intimidated by them,” Maverick coach Kim Williams said. “We played them hard, we knew we could beat them, could hang with them.”
Eastern Tech went on to lose to top-seeded Century in the state quarterfinals, 1-0.
After the Sparrows Point girls lost to Eastern Tech at home, the Pointer boys fell to the Mavericks in their regional title game at CCBC Essex, 3-1.
All the scoring was in the second half, with Dillon Nesteruk recording a hat trick for Eastern Tech.
Nesteruk gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead with 33 minutes remaining in the game. he scored two more goals in the last 10 minutes before Sparrows Point converted a penalty kick to complete the scoring.
But, with the game still 1-0, Sparrows Point (8-5-1) had a great opportunity to tie the score.
Maverick keeper Taylor Spivey tried to stop a crossing pass, missed, and was lying stretched out on the ground while a Pointer player had the ball right in front of the goal.
Somehow, the shot went over the crossbar. Spivey said afterwards he stuck up his arm “as a last resort” and the ball hit his wrist.
“I think if we score there, it changes the momentum a little and gives us a better chance at turning things around,” Sparrows Point coach Joe Lambert said. “I think their defense played well, but we didn’t help ourselves by missing the opportunities we had.”
Eastern Tech (12-3) was the fifth seed in the state quarterfinals, where it lost at fourth-seeded LaPlata (13-2) 4-0 on Saturday.