Ballard lifts Eagles to next round
NP boys soccer shuts out Chopticon in 4A East section quarterfinal
North Point’s boys soccer team traveled to Morganza on Oct. 7 and suffered a 2-1 setback at the hands of Chopticon.
Some 20 days later, it was a dif- ferent story as the two teams met again in a Class 4A East Region Sec- tion II quarterfinal matchup as the fourth-seeded Eagles hosted the fifth-seeded Braves.
In what was a physical, defensive stalemate throughout, North Point junior Cameron Ballard Jr.’s goal midway through the first half was only offense that was needed in a 1-0 shutout.
After Aaron Monegain’s pass split two Chopticon defenders, Ballard beat Braves goalkeeper Jakob Gar- land to the ball and softly put the goal into the back of the net.
“It was great that we got this play- off win,” Ballard said. “I got a nice pass from my Aaron, put a touch on it and next thing you know it was in the goal. “Chopticon beat us in the regular season, but we couldn’t let them come up here and get us on our home field.”
With the victory, North Point (8-5 overall) advanced to Tuesday’s sec- tion semifinals to take on undefeated Leonardtown.
“Advancing in regionals or any state tournament is a real big confi- dence booster,” Eagles head coach Doug DeCook. “It felt good to get the first one at home and we knew what type of team Chopticon was. We won some 50-50 balls in the air and that set the tone for us. We played our style and stuck to what we do.”
The winner advanced to the section championship round, which is later this week, to face the winner of Tuesday’s other section semifinal game between second-seeded Broadneck and third-seeded South River, both of Anne Arundel County.
Chopticon had several opportunities late in the second half, including a long shot from senior Jacob Mattera with less than a minute left in
the game, but North Point sophomore goalkpeer Austin Geier (5 saves) made a leaping save to tip the shot over the crossbar and deny Mattera.
“I saw [Mattera] getting ready to shoot and I knew it wasn’t getting blocked, so I knew I had to come up with the big save,” Gei- er said. “It was just having a drive to be great and do
it for my seniors. I love all of them. We played a great game today and I’m proud of my teammates. Last game was at their home and we weren’t focused, but today we couldn’t let them take this from us. It’s playoffs and we don’t want our season to end.”
The Eagles defense was spearheaded by a strong backline of sophomore Mason Nunn, junior Chris Simpson, junior Ayran Ta- bayoyong and senior Con- nor Staudmyer.
“We have a strong back- line that listen and work well together,” DeCook said. “They came out good on the 50-50 chanc- es. We cleared the balls that we needed to and played smarter.”
On the difference in this game, Chopticon head coach Mat Strong said, “I think playing on the turf affected us a little bit. The game was faster and we were losing some of our first touches. We were not as precise as we can
be. It was a nice surface to play on, but our boys just wasn’t use to it. Our opportunities were very quick chances at the net and we were just a few inches here and there from scoring a goal.”
The Braves finish the season at 6-7 overall.
“We’ve worked hard all season and outperformed a lot of teams, but had a hard time finding the back of the net at times,” Strong said. “We create opportunities and work
the ball to the midfield and out of the back very well, but we just couldn’t translate them into goals.”
North Point girls advance
The North Point girls shut out sixth-seeded C.H. Flowers of Prince George’s 16-0 in the 4A South Section II quarterfinals on Friday to advance to Tuesday’s section semifinals where it faced second-seeded Bowie Prince George’s.
The third-seeded Eagles had 11 different goal scorers as Sonnia Moses, Brianna Reid, Courtney Moss and Micaiah Lloyd each scored two goals. Aimee Latour, Marissa Gammons, Jazmyne Lewis, Desiree Salazar, Izzy Piazza, Jordan Anderson, Hannah Gates and Mikayla Johnson all scored one each. of
North Point junior Cameron Ballard Jr. dribbles down field as Chopticon sophomore Travis Jett trails from behind in Thursday’s Class 4A East Region Section II boys soccer quarterfinal contest. Ballard scored the lone goal in the game’s 20th minute in a 1-0 win.