Tigers set sights on Cougars, Elks aim for rematch with Indians
A pair of Cecil County teams will kick off the girls’ soccer playoffs on Friday when they both take on Harford County opponents in the 2A East Region Section I quarterfinals.
Rising Sun (6-5-1) will host North Harford (5-52), while Elkton (4-6-1) will visit Harford Tech (7-5).
For the Tigers, the game represents a late-season rematch from last week when they tied the Hawks 1-1 in overtime in their final Chesapeake Division contest.
“I think it does [benefit us to play them again],” Rising Sun coach Dylan Aiman said. “It was nice to see the kind of quality they have and where their strengths and weaknesses are. We didn’t do anything special while [playing them]. We knew we would play them in a week so we didn’t show them any set plays. I kind of used that game sort of as an advantage to get a feel for them and not show them our cards.”
A win would pit the Tigers against top-seeded Fallston (9-2), which has knocked the Cecil squad out of the playoffs each of the past two seasons and three times in the last four years.
“I think Fallston is much more beatable this year than they’ve ever been,” Aiman said. “I know they beat us 2-0 at home, but I wasn’t impressed and that was with us missing several key players. I hope we get the chance to play it but we are by no means looking beyond North Harford.”
The Golden Elks, who won their final two Susquehanna Division games before ending the year with a non-divisional loss to Rising Sun, open up against the Cobras, who they did not face during the regular season.
“One of the things that I think the Elkton program is going through, and if you look at the history, at least the last four years, is it has continually progressed. One of the issues this year that happened was the late turnover in coaching. I wasn’t there from Day One. But even considering that, we didn’t exactly take a step back. We may have even taken a step forward,” firstyear Elkton coach Dave Lowell said. “That put us in really good contention with a lot of these teams that we played close games with. It wasn’t just North East, it was also Bo Manor that was a one-goal game. I think we are right there with a lot of these teams.
“I haven’t seen Harford Tech, but it seems like it could be a pretty tight game. Skill wise, I think it’s there, it just depends on who puts it together better on Friday.”
The winner between the Elks and Cobras will advance to face second-seeded North East (8-4), which secured an opening-round bye and home field after finishing undefeated in the Susquehanna Division. The Indians topped Elkton 2-1 on Oct. 13, and fell to Harford Tech 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 4.
“[The regular season] was an example of the kids working together with teamwork to achieve success,” Indians coach Matt Roberts said. “I don’t think we have superstars, but we have a lot of kids who like each other, enjoy playing with each other and enjoy being around each other.”
Last year’s North East team, despite winning the Susquehanna, entered the postseason as the fifth seed and began the playoffs on the road, where they suffered an opening-round loss to a higher seed. This time around, the Indians plan to take advantage of a much better starting position.
“We welcome the opportunity for a rematch [with either Harford Tech or Elkton], but we talked about it as a team this week what we have to do to be prepared to play either one of those teams,” Roberts said. “I think it’s very important [that we’re home] against either team for different reasons. I think it’s to our advantage to play Harford Tech on our field on grass rather than their field on turf. It’s a benefit to play a potential game against Elkton on our field that we’re used to playing compared to at Elkton where they’ve played several games this year.”