Mavericks start slowly but prevail
Freshman Nesteruk scores game-winner, his 1st varsity goal, 24 seconds into OT
The Eastern Tech boys soccer team had to work extra hard on defense and be resourceful with limited scoring chances in regulation against visiting Catonsville on Friday.
It gave the No. 12 Mavericks a chance in overtime and freshman midfielder Dillon Nesteruk was ready to become the hero.
Just 24 seconds into overtime, Nesteruk scored on a one-timer from outside the penalty area, finding the right corner to give the Mavericks a 3-2 upset win over the defending Baltimore County champion and No. 8 Comets.
Eastern Tech improved to 8-2 and 3-0 in the county’s East/South Division. Catonsville (8-2-1) is 4-1 in division play.
A Catonsville defender headed the ball out of the middle, but not far enough, as Nesteruk finished with a half-volley with the outside of his foot for his first varsity goal.
“Actually, I just hit it, to be honest, and I had no idea if it was going in. I didn’t try to put too much power into it, just leaned over the ball and hit it and thank God it went in,” he said.
“That was my first goal of the season. There’s no words to describe it, to be honest — it’s a special feeling.”
The Comets dominated play for most of the first half but were unable to score. Eastern Tech goalie Andrew Holt (nine saves) had a lot to do with it, and he got help from his defenders and the crossbar when Mckenzie Ali hit it with a header off a corner kick late in the half.
The Comets came out strong in the opening minute of the second half as Holt turned away Ethan Clark’s point-blank shot from 6 yards away. The Mavericks made their first trip to the other end count when Andrew Wdzieczkowski converted a penalty kick after a teammate was taken down a couple of minutes later.
It was the first goal the Comets allowed after nine straight shutouts (8-0-1 in the span), and coach Chris Hastings said they might have been a bit shaken when the Mavericks made it 2-0 with 30 minutes to play on a goal from junior Kai Kressman, who used his left foot to redirect a free kick sent in from Holt near midfield.
The Comets went back to work on offense with even more urgency and were able to finally solve the Mavericks defense with goals from Michael English and Jordan Llorin a couple of minutes apart midway through the half to even the score. Chances came for both sides during the remaining time of regulation but didn’t lead to a goal, leaving Nesteruk to settle things in overtime.
“Wehave something special this year,” he said. “We’re like a family. We bond every single game and every single practice and that helped today on the field.”
Playing on a natural grass field for the first time this season, the Comets controlled play and had an advantage over the Mavericks in shots, corner kicks and possession time, but couldn’t finish.
“That’s just soccer,” Hastings said. “They’re good kids who want to do well and want to win, and they’re not going to put their heads down for sure.”