No. 5 Bel Air falls to Wal­ter John­son, 4-0

Baltimore Sun - - VARSITY - By Rich Scherr

The Bel Air boys soc­cer team spent much of Fri­day’s Class 4A state fi­nal dodging hay­mak­ers from Wal­ter John­son, the topranked team in the Wash­ing­ton area ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post.

But af­ter hang­ing around for more than a half, and nearly pulling even on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, the No. 5 Bob­cats even­tu­ally suc­cumbed to the Mont­gomery County power’s con­stant bar­rage in a 4-0 loss at Loy­ola Mary­land’s Ri­d­ley Ath­letic Com­plex.

It took three goals in the fi­nal 9:53 to end the dreams of a team that had shown a propen­sity to never give up through­out the play­offs.

“We had them on their heels for 30 min­utes,” Bel Air coach Do­minic Rose said. “We re­ally felt that the teams we were match­ing up against un­der­es­ti­mated us a lit­tle bit. They didn’t re­al­ize that we can take a punch … and keep com­ing at them. [Wal­ter John­son] hadn’t seen us play yet, so we knew we had some­thing for them, and we did in the sec­ond half.”

The Wild­cats (17-1) claimed their fourth state ti­tle, and first since 2006.

How­ever, it didn’t come as eas­ily as the fi­nal score might in­di­cate.

Down 1-0 af­ter the Wild­cats’ Aldo Ruiz scored on a bul­let from 30 yards out 11:30 be­fore half­time, Bel Air (14-5-1) — which didn’t record its first shot on goal un­til 3:21 left in the half — be­gan to turn things around.

“We just felt we were a lit­tle ner­vous in the first half,” Rose said. “The field was so big, and it took us a lit­tle bit of time to ad­just to the size of the field and to re­ally just go out and leave it all out on the field.”

The Bob­cats’ best op­por­tu­nity of the first half came when mid­fielder Vin­cent Rose sent a pass to Gray Harper in front, but the heav­ily de­fended se­nior was un­able to get off a shot.

Then, af­ter the break, for­ward Ryan Al­bright nearly scored twice, but each of his two free kicks car­omed off the cross­bar — the first off the bot­tom, bounc­ing back into play be­fore be­ing cleared away, and the sec­ond hit­ting the top of the bar and sail­ing out of bounds.

Wild­cats goalie David Goodstein then blocked away an­other point-blank shot by Harper mid­way through the half.

“We had three or four op­por­tu­ni­ties, big ones,” Al­bright said. “When they went off the cross­bar, it was a let­down to say the least.”

But Bel Air’s bid to tie the game ended with 9:53 left, when de­fender Michael Blakeslee came up with the ball near mid­field and fed for­ward Zion Fri­day, who drib­bled three times and beat goalie Cameron Ri­ley one-on-one. Wal­ter John­son then sealed the win min­utes later when Max Yodice scored off a feed from Alex Bukharin with 4:35 left.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.