Woo­z­ley, Knights top La Plata again

War­riors fall to Mid­dle­town in 2A state semis

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

CLARKSVILLE — La Plata’s Su­per­man once again met its kryp­tonite in Mid­dle­town.

The War­riors fell out of the play- offs fol­low­ing a 1-0 loss to the Knights of Fred­er­ick County in the Class 2A state semi­fi­nals Satur­day at River Hill High School.

The Knights (18-1 over­all) will face Fall­ston of Har­ford County in the state fi­nal, which will be held Nov. 17 to 19 at Loy­ola Univer­sity’s Ri­d­ley Ath­letic Com­plex in Bal­ti­more..

Last year, Mid­dle­town de­feated the War­riors 4-0 in the state cham- pi­o­nship game.

“My guys left it on the field, so I’m proud of them,” La Plata head coach Chris But­ler said. “I’m very proud of them. We has a great sea- son. You can’t take for granted get­ting to the state [tour­na­ment] two years in a row; that’s quite an ac- com­plish­ment. Now we get to work for next year.”

“I’m proud of this team. I couldn’t have asked to go out with a bet­ter group of guys,” said La Plata se­nior de­fender An­thony Lopez, who will ma­jor in com­puter en­gi­neer­ing and is hop­ing to play soc­cer in col­lege.

Mid­dle­town dom­i­nated from start to fin­ish and held a big ad­van­tage in shots on goal (16-3) and cor­ner kicks (10-2), but head coach Jeff Colsh gave plenty of credit to the War­riors.

“Hats off to La Plata. They played their hearts out and it was just one moment, one goal that made the dif­fer­ence,” Colsh said. “We’re ex- cited and I’m sure they’re crushed, but I hope they re­flect on an­other great sea­son. They’re a strong team and it feels good to beat a team like that.”

Mid­dle­town swarmed La Plata’s end for much of the game, but the War­riors’ de­fense, in­clud­ing se­nior goalie Bent­ley Lebar­ron, stood tall.

“They’re a high pres­sure team and we stressed all week get­ting rid of the ball and switch­ing fields,” But­ler said. “I think we took a few too many touches and tried to drib­ble a lit­tle too much, and we weren’t able to get it to the right peo­ple at the right time. We didn’t get the ball off our feet fast enough. We took three or four touches when we should have taken one or two. That was the dif­fer­ence in the game.”

“Their of­fense was re­ally strong,” Lopez said. “They found the ball in the mid­field and then played it out wide and it was re­ally dif­fi­cult to counter that. We tried our best to send it up the field but they just kept pound­ing it.”

Lebar­ron made ar­guably his best save of the game when he dove across the box in the to snatch a sure goal away in the 54th minute. Mo­ments later, he stretched across

to bat away a shot that was ear­marked for the up­per right. De­fend­ers Alex Gor­don and Ethan Becker also cleared away loose balls in the box.

“My de­fense was def­i­nitely help­ing me out and they were shut­ting off a lot of shots,” Lebar­ron

said. He made 11 saves in the con­test. “The ones that got through I don’t know, I was just in the moment.”

“I was very proud of my de­fense,” But­ler said. “[All] those long throwins and those cor­ner kicks but they just kept stand­ing tall.”

The Knights scored the only goal they would need when Josh Wooz-

ley hammed home a ball from the left side in the 71st minute.

“I don’t re­mem­ber it too much, but I re­mem­ber Dom [Ru­dakevych] send­ing a ball into the box and I got rid of it,” Woo­z­ley said. “I was just so happy I ran over to Dom and gave him a big hug.”

“Some games you get it to click, some you don’t and the thing that’s car-

ried us to Loy­ola is that we just keep be­liev­ing and stay pos­i­tive,” Colsh said. “Some games it doesn’t look like we’ll ever score, but we just keep be­liev­ing and have each other’s backs.”

But­ler said Lebar­ron “made some tremen­dous saves, and the one that went in I don’t think he had a chance. He had an out­stand­ing game and kept us

in the game. He’s the man of the match for us.”

The War­riors (13-5) had their best scor­ing chance in the 16th min- ute when a cor­ner kick re­sulted in two La Plata head­ers, the lat­ter just miss­ing the right side. The War­riors had their first shot on goal in the 49th minute.

“I think this was our best game even though we lost,” said Lebar­ron, who is plan­ning on ma­jor­ing in his­tory in col­lege. “Com­ing back [to states] this year we had so much ef­fort and we were so much more of a team and I’m not mad at all. I’m up­set we lost but I know our team gave it our all and I wouldn’t want to have spent my se­nior year with any­one else.”

PHOTO BY DEBBIE MCIN­TOSH

La Plata’s Gar­rett Estep goes up for a header as Mid­dle­town’s Josh Woo­z­ley moves in to chal­lenge in Satur­day’s Class 2A state semi­fi­nal con­test at River Hill High School in Clarksville. Woo­z­ley scored the only goal of the con­test as the War­riors fell 1-0.

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