Tigers avenge last year’s boys’ soc­cer sweep

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL SPORTS - By KEVIN PHILLIPS Special to the Whig

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.”

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