North Point boys soc­cer loses in 4A East Re­gion play­offs

Ea­gles shut out by un­beaten Leonard­town

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TAMMY SHOWAL­TER tshowal­ter@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @tam­lyn­nusa

A nice way to ad­vance in the Class 4A East Re­gion play­offs is by de­feat­ing a team with a hat trick and Leonard­town sopho­more Nik Koko­lios did just that Tues­day evening as the Raiders de­feated vis­it­ing North Point, 4-0.

An early goal for the fourth-seeded Ea­gles was called back due to a push in the back of Leonard­town se­nior goal­keeper Chris Bra­ganca and the mo­men­tum shifted in fa­vor of the top-seeded Raiders.

North Point held Leonard­town un­til Koko­lios scored in the 27th minute on an as­sist by Kyle Down­ing and the Raiders added three goals in the se­cond half to ad­vance to play se­cond-seeded Broad­neck of Anne Arun­del County in the sec­tion fi­nal, which was played Thurs­day.

Leonard­town head coach Dave Hol­land said he didn’t think his team came out fo­cused in the first half.

“The first half was a lit- tle shaky,” he said. “We talked to them about a few things at half­time and they came out and ex­e­cuted ev­ery­thing we talked about. I’m hop­ing we get our in­ten­sity back next round. They bet­ter get their in­ten­sity back be­cause we’ll have a very tough op­po­nent. One game at a time. This team has a lot of po­ten­tial. If we play like we did in the se­cond half, we should be fine.”

The Raiders are still un­de­feated, now at 14-0 over­all. Hol­land said he is su­per­sti­tious and makes sure he doesn’t change any­thing that’s work­ing so far.

“I’m do­ing ev­ery kind of rit­ual there is,” he said with a smile. “We haven’t lost, so I haven’t changed any­thing up all year. I’m one of the most su­per­sti­tious peo­ple you’ll ever know. When things are go­ing good, I don’t change any­thing up. I don’t move any­thing from where it is.”

Koko­lios said the sec- ond goal was the most beau­ti­ful, com­ing in the 51st minute of the game with an as­sist from team- mate and for­eign ex- change stu­dent Ric­cardo Bagh­ino of Sar­dinia, Italy.

“Ricky just sent it back to me and I had a lot of space on top of the box and I just saw the far cor­ner of the goal wide open,” Koko­lios said, “and I just shot it not re­ally ex­pect­ing it to go in. It just soared into the far cor­ner. They [North Point] gave us a good game at first. They came out ready since we beat them last time. They came back for re­venge, but we got back in the game well.”

Bagh­ino added, “I called the ball and I see Nik free and just pass the ball and he score a per­fect goal. It was re­ally amaz­ing. It’s been amaz­ing here. It’s my first year and I didn’t think the soc­cer was good, but it’s amaz­ing here.”

Koko­lios net­ted his third goal just four min­utes later when North Point sopho­more goal­keeper Austin Geier came out of the net to de­flect an­other shot. A pile of Ea­gles tried to pro­tect the net, but Koko­lios found an empty spot to tap the ball in.

The Raiders kept the pres­sure on as Geier tried to align his de­fense. He fin­ished with 10 saves.

With roughly five min- utes re­main­ing, se­nior Evan Broad­head was awarded a penalty kick and h drilled the ball past Geier for the fourth goal of the night.

North Point head coach Doug DeCook said it could have been a dif­fer- ent game if it had started in the Ea­gles fa­vor.

“It was tough. It would have been a to­tally dif­fer- ent game if that first goal was al­lowed be­cause we would have been on the board first,” said DeCook, who moved over from be­ing the girls head coach to be­ing the boys head coach this fall. “If that one goes in and you’re up 1-0, I think we could have been up or at 1-1 at the half. It’s kind of a dif­fer­ent be­cause we had to get the boys wrapped around, bad call, un­lucky, you didn’t get the goal to move on. I think that kind of lin­gered in their heads early in the se­cond half. We gave up two more and then the fourth was just ic­ing on the cake. I told the boys all things come to an end, but it’s the start of some­thing bet­ter [for North Point].”

DeCook, whose team fin­ishes 8-6 over­all, is grad­u­at­ing seven se­niors.

“For the se­niors, it’s a tough one,” DeCook said. “I wish them the very best. They re­ally kept the team to­gether. It’s my first year with the boys but we’re happy with the strides we’ve made. I have a lot of sopho­mores and fresh­men. There’s a young nu­cleus here and we’re happy with what they’re do­ing.

“We’re here with the 12-0 team who’s just won SMAC and that’s where we want to be. I told them we’re not too far off. The score­line might show a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent but they played with their hearts and they played the full game. The bounces just didn’t go our way but with a young team, hope­fully we’ll be back here.”

STAFF PHOTO BY TAMMY SHOWAL­TER

Leonard­town’s Nik Koko­lios fin­ished with a hat trick in Tues­day night’s 4-0 win in the 4A East sec­tion semi­fi­nals over vis­it­ing North Point. The Raiders cap­tured the 4-0 vic­tory to ad­vance. Koko­lios drib­bles as North Point’s Mason Nunn and Noah Her­ridge de­fend.

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