Woozley, Knights top La Plata again
Warriors fall to Middletown in 2A state semis
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.”
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.