St. Mary’s Ryken squanders early lead, settles for tie
Boys soccer team allows McNamara to rally despite being shorthanded
After taking a two-goal lead thanks to having an extra player for well over half the contest, the St. Mary’s Ryken boys soccer team could not maintain that advantage and settled for a 2-2 tie against visiting Bishop McNamara of Prince George’s County in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference contest on Tuesday.
SMR (2-1-1, 0-0-1 WCAC) gained a man advantage when McNamara’s William Garner was given a red card on a hard slide tackle on St. Mary’s Ryken’s Alex Dulaney. The Mustangs were spared immediate damage when Knights freshman Brandon Jones sent his penalty kick well over the crossbar, but the visitors would have to play the last 65 minutes a man down. Overtime is not played during the regular season in the WCAC.
SMR controlled play, predictably, with the extra man but it did not capitalize on the situation until Seth Blevins eluded McNamara defender Ryan Smith and drilled a low shot from along the endline that bounced through the arms of McNamara goalkeeper Micah Dixon. The Knights maintained the 1-0 lead at the intermission.
SMR again controlled play through the early stages of the second half and this time it needed less time to take advantage of the situation when sophomore Ben Carroll drilled a high shot into the upper right hand corner of the net that easily eluded Dixon for a 2-0 Knights lead with 31 minutes remaining.
“We had some good passes and good attacks in the first half and the start of the second half,” St. Mary’s Ryken head coach J.J. Raley said. “We just stopped being aggressive in the second half. We got a little complacent and they were able to come back. Give McNamara credit, they kept playing hard even being a man down the whole second half.”
SMR actually had several more good scoring chances in the subsequent five minutes after Carroll’s goal, but Dixon recorded a trio of saves and suddenly McNamara found some confidence. On their second shot of the second half, the Mustangs got on the board when Jayden Robinson sent a high, spinning shot that bounced past Knights goalkeeper Trey Wolfe.
Less than two minutes later, McNamara (3-1-1, 0-0-1) got the equalizer despite being a man down. This time senior Ross Patterson picked up a free ball behind the Knights defense and drilled a low shot past Wolfe into the right corner of the net to bring the visitors even at 2 with 18 minutes remaining.
“Those were two great shots by Jayden and Ross,” McNamara head coach Darius Qualls said. “The guys just refused to give up. We knew we would only get a few chances being a man down, so we had to be patient. We got some deep balls through and we took advantage of those opportunities.”
Over the last 18 minutes, SMR played as if it had the man advantage and spent much of the remaining time in the Mustangs end. But shots from Blevins, Carroll, Jones and Dulaney were either just off target or ended up being smacked away by Dixon, who preferred to swat at incoming shots rather than attempt to cradle them.
The Knights are next scheduled to play in the Northern High School tournament on Saturday.
“We had our chances in the last 15 minutes, but we just couldn’t come through,” said Raley, a 2008 SMR alum who played four seasons with the Knights. “It was not the way we thought it would end. It just showed us that we still have a lot of work to do.”