No. 11 Fall­ston de­feats Kent Is­land, 1-0

Mid­dle­town re­peats as champ with 3-0 vic­tory over No. 15 S. Car­roll

Baltimore Sun - - NHL - By Brian Bur­den — Pat Stoet­zer, Bal­ti­more Sun Media Group

Af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the run of play for the first 49 min­utes of its Class 2A East re­gion fi­nal at Kent Is­land, but with noth­ing on the score­board to show for it, Fall­ston was re­warded with a penalty-kick op­por­tu­nity af­ter a hand ball was called in the box on a Buc­ca­neers de­fender.

Jared Puglisi struck the ball to the left of Jack­son Davis, but the sopho­more goal­keeper sent it away. It was the kind of stop that could change a game’s mo­men­tum and serve as the im­pe­tus for a huge Kent Is­land vic­tory.

Cur­tis Kas­sir made sure that was not to be.

With 22:42 re­main­ing in the game, Kas­sir, a three-year start­ing cen­ter back for the Cougars, found the ball on his foot af­ter it had bounced off a cou­ple of play­ers. The se­nior’s shot on goal was good for the only tally of a 1-0 vic­tory.

No. 11 Fall­ston (14-3), which posted its 12th shutout of the sea­son, ad­vanced to play Eastern Tech on Fri­day or Satur­day at River Hill, while Kent Is­land (14-2) saw its dream sea­son come to an end.

“We wanted to take this one, you know,” Kent Is­land coach Lin Out­ten said. “I mean, we get the game at home. We earn the right to have the game at home, and we wanted to take it. We just couldn’t quite do it. I don’t know if we saw it like this all year. They were big and fast and con­fi­dent, and seemed to be in ev­ery spot.”

Fall­ston had the re­sume of a team with high ex­pec­ta­tions of reach­ing the state tour­na­ment. Sev­en­teen play­ers had com­bined to score 62 goals com­ing into Tues­day night’s re­gion fi­nal, while the de­fense had sur­ren­dered just six goals in 16 games. Kas­sir, Puglisi, Tim Mozingo and An­drew Solomon were fairly im­pen­e­tra­ble again against the Buc­ca­neers.

“Those guys are re­ally good in the back, and Cur­tis has been back there for three years and does not get much credit,” Fall­ston coach Drew Bisker said.

The Cougars con­trolled pos­ses­sion and sent wave af­ter wave at Kent Mid­dle­town’s Luke Ahalt and South Car­roll’s Spencer Glee­son bat­tle for a header. The Knights re­peated as cham­pi­ons in the Class 2A West re­gion. Is­land’s de­fense, work­ing the ball adeptly through the air, which coun­tered Out­ten’s ground-con­trol plan.

“We are used to pos­sess­ing the ball and keep­ing it on the ground, but they were con­stantly lift­ing it,” Out­ten said. “We seemed to deal with it very well, but it did give them a lot of cor­ner kicks, and that is where they bring in their big bod­ies. It has worked well for them this sea­son.”

It has. Kas­sir said Fall­ston scored all three goals in its sec­tion fi­nal win over Elk­ton off cor­ner kicks, and its 7-0 ad­van­tage in such kicks against the Buc­ca­neers did not bode well. At the same time, Fall­ston could not break through against Kent Is­land’s back line, ei­ther.

“Their de­fense played well; we could not pen­e­trate it,” Bisker said. “Give them credit.”

With no score go­ing into the sec­ond half, the Cougars pushed the tempo even more, and Davis was forced to make a div­ing stop of a shot by Jake Kauff­man, who leads Fall­ston with 10 goals. The hand-ball call came a minute later. Puglisi, whom Bisker said nor­mally goes high and to the left in penalty-kick sit­u­a­tions, in­stead sent it low, hard and to the right. Davis guessed per­fectly and sent it away for an­other cor­ner.

“I was hop­ing that saved PK would charge us up, but we just did not have enough of the ball,” Out­ten said. “They just kept knock­ing ev­ery- thing back into our box.”

Just over eight min­utes later, the Cougars had an­other cor­ner kick, and this one brought Davis out and off his line, and Kas­sir took ad­van­tage.

“The ball was bounc­ing around and bounced off of, like, five peo­ple, and then off my foot and into the back of the net,” Kas­sir said. “We like to use cor­ner kicks as a weapon, and we just stay with it and stay with it, and even­tu­ally we get one.”

MID­DLE­TOWN 3, NO. 15 SOUTH CAR­ROLL 0: The host Knights (17-1) re­peated as Class 2A West champs by shut­ting out the Cava­liers (10-4-3).

Mid­dle­town pos­sessed the ball for most of the first half and con­verted a penalty kick with about six min­utes re­main­ing to grab the lead. The Knights kept their in­ten­sity up af­ter the break and struck again mid­way through the sec­ond half.

An­other goal in the fi­nal min­utes ce­mented the win and gave the Cava­liers (10-4-3) a sink­ing feel­ing. But South Car­roll coach Tim Novotny tried to look at the sea­son as a whole.

“For some of them, we’ve had four years with each other,” Novotny said. “For eight of them, I coached them in club [soc­cer]. Hope­fully, we taught them more than the game. Hope­fully, we taught them how to be good, re­spect­ful men.”


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