Tigers avenge last year’s boys’ soccer sweep
CALVERT — Rising Sun and Elkton took to the field to renew their boys’ soccer rivalry under the lights Thursday at Calvert Regional Park, one year after the Golden Elks swept last year’s battles between the two teams.
The Tigers felt like they controlled the tempo in both games last season but did not see the results they desired. Things were different Thursday, as Rising Sun broke through against Elkton’s defense to earn a a 2-1 non-divisional victory.
“It helps when it’s Elkton. They played us twice last year. We felt like we outplayed them, we didn’t outscore them. That was a big thing for us to prove that this year and come back,” Rising Sun head coach Ken Ulrich said. “We know that they’re tough. John Bosler is [the reigning] All-County Player of the Year. Elkton played tough, but I think we really wanted thing game.
“We played hard. We had good possession. We had good intensity. Everything came together for us.”
The Tigers (1-0) took control early and started to attack the Elkton back line with strong pressure, generating several near chances during the opening minutes of the first half. That pressure paid off in the game’s 10th minute when a through ball went to Ivan Herrera, who avoided a Golden Elk defender and put the ball in the net to give Rising Sun a 1-0 lead.
“They were setting me up nice. They were giving me great passes. Through balls, everything. We were getting past the defense,” Herrera said. “The last defender put up a challenge, but we got past him.”
The Tigers continued to dictate the tempo for the remainder of the game, snuffing out Elkton’s dangerous counter with stiff defense to maintain a one-goal lead.
The score remained that way until the game’s 67th minute when the Golden Elks were called for a penalty inside the box, forcing a penalty kick. The Tigers’ Jackson Sopa coolly put the resulting penalty shot into the back of the net to double the advantage.
Rising Sun’s two-goal lead lasted all of two minutes before it was wiped away by an Elkton penalty kick. After being assessed with a penalty inside the box, Bosler took the kick and deposited the shot into the goal to cut the deficit in half with 11 minutes remaining.
Elkton then had a few nearchances down the stretch that were thwarted by the Rising Sun defense, allowing the Tigers to hold on for a much desired victory over their rivals.
“It’s my first year playing with them,” Herrera, a junior, said. “[My teammates] said they have been losing to Elkton the last couple of years. So, it’s pretty big.”