Bal­lard lifts Ea­gles to next round

NP boys soc­cer shuts out Chop­ti­con in 4A East sec­tion quar­ter­fi­nal

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By AJ MA­SON aj­ma­son@somd­news.com

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

PHOTO BY WAL­LACE BAR­RON

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.

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