Trojans host 2nd-round match Tuesday
PRINCESS ANNE — The Trojans scored more goals in their last three matches than they scored in the previous nine, bolstering firstyear head coach Patrick Jones’ belief that they have hit their stride as they head into postseason.
“We’re playing well,” Jones said Thursday, Oct. 20, the day after a hard-fought 4-2 victory at Washington High School. “We’ve finally figured out how to score. Finishing had been a problem.”
The Trojans, who will host a second-round match Tuesday, Nov. 1, are 5-7. Three of their wins came in sudden death and four of their losses were each by a goal.
In three of the four one-goal losses — the exception being the 1-0 setback to border rival Queen Anne’s on Oct. 17 — Jones said he believed that Kent was the better team.
“We possessed the ball more than 50 percent of the time but couldn’t finish. We let opportunities fizzle away,” he said.
That changed with a 6-2 victory at Cambridge on Oct. 12, and carried over into the matches against Queen Anne’s and Washington.
“Scoring is contagious,” said Jones, and the confidence that comes with it is immeasurable.
Kent County will host St. Michaels (4-6-2) at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Both teams received a first-round bye. Kent won the regular-season match, 2-1, in overtime.
This is the first match of a Kent soccer doubleheader. The girls play at 6 p.m. Admission will be charged.
Jones said the Trojans will use the nearly two-week layoff to “go back to basics ... brush up defensively and practice playing smart.”
They should be at full strength for the playoffs, with the exception of senior midfielder Andrew Carr, who suffered a seasonending knee injury last month.
Senior defender Cade Terrill (concussion) and junior midfielder Gbenga Taiwo (red card) did not play the regular-season finale at Washington. Terrill was expected to be medically cleared to return to practice yesterday, while Taiwo has served his onematch suspension.
Felipe Mendoza, Stevie Neukam and Casey Jackman have done an admirable job in filling in for the injured Carr.
Junior varsity call-ups for the playoffs include freshmen Kenny Fowler (defense) and Tad Jacobs (midfield), sophomores Dylan “Socks” Hill (midfield) and Jeremy Graham (goalie), and junior Gabe Warner (utility player).
Graham made his varsity debut Wednesday, Oct. 19 when he played the entire second half at Washington. He allowed one goal in the 4-2 win.
Junior Ryan Santmyer scored twice, bringing his season total to a team-leading nine goals.
Washington (3-8-1) scored in the eighth minute on a long looping cross that came from the left side and slid under the crossbar to elude keeper Giovanni Sixtos.
On the Trojans’ ensuing possession, Santmyer on a breakaway leveled the score with a crisp controlled shot.
B.K. Saunders scored the go-ahead goal in the 12th minute, running on to a long diagonal lead ball from Carter Wallace.
Wallace also had the helper on Drew
Baker’s goal, finishing off a series of give-and-go passes, to make it 3-1 before halftime.
Washington made it 3-2 in the 50th minute, but would get no closer. Santmyer salted away the win with an unassisted goal in the 79th minute.
“Ryan is finding his feet,” Jones said of Santmyer, who is playing high school soccer for the first time. He is the two-time reigning Mid-Shore Tennis Player of the Year.
Santmyer and forward Wallace work well together, and have helped to punch up the Trojans’ attack.
Baker is continuing to play outstanding in the midfield.
At Washington, junior center back Tyler Johnston was
the Trojans’ standout player and Saunders on the right wing had his best effort of the season, Jones said.
The Trojans netted a season-high six goals in a lopsided win at Cambridge on Oct. 12. Santmyer, from Taiwo, dented the scoreboard in the third minute for instant offense.
Cambridge (0-12) leveled the score at 1-1 in the fifth minute.
Santmyer’s penalty kick in the 18th minute restored the Trojans’ lead for good. Neukam scored on a header in the 35th minute to make it 3-1 at the break.
Taiwo added to the lead in the 55th minute, and then Santmyer found the back of the net in the 65th and 78th minutes.
Cambridge closed out the scoring with a PK with about a minute remaining.
The Trojans led 20-6 in shots.
Johnston and Drue Walters subbed in at center back to get experience as they likely will be the cornerstones of the Kent defense next fall.
Queen Anne’s (7-5) edged Kent, 1-0, on a disputed second half goal Monday, Oct. 17. Noah Shade scored from close range on a direct kick in the 60th minute to end the shutout.
Emotions took over in the second half, when a player from each side was ejected. Play was physical.
Trailing 1-0, the Trojans had several legitimate scoring chances. Jordan Reed’s direct kick in the 68th minute grazed the top of the crossbar. Daniel Parent was stopped in the 71st minute on a breakaway and in the 85th minute after gathering in a through ball from Santmyer.
Junior midfielder Ryan Santmyer leads Kent County in scoring with nine goals. He is a firstyear high school soccer player.