Play­offs

Tro­jans host 2nd-round match Tues­day

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews.com

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.

PHOTO BY TR­ISH

Ju­nior mid­fielder Ryan Sant­myer leads Kent County in scor­ing with nine goals. He is a firstyear high school soc­cer player.

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