Schroeder, Hast­ings boost No. 3 seed Sabres

Record Observer - - Sports / Classifieds - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

SSPP 2 — Boys’ Latin 1

EAS­TON — Saints Peter and Paul High’s boys’ soc­cer team used an eight-game un­beaten streak to chisel out a spot in this year’s Mary­land In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion B Con­fer­ence post­sea­son field.

But clos­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son with con­sec­u­tive one-goal losses — in­clud­ing Fri­day’s 1-0 over­time heart­breaker to Ger­stell Academy — knocked the Sabres down a rung in the play­off seed­ings, and left head coach G.R. Can­non con­cerned about his team’s col­lec­tive mind­set in a sea­son of high ex­pec­ta­tions.

“It was such a tough loss,” Can­non said of Fri­day. “Again, when you put in what I would call it a sta­ple per­for­mance. … I mean we did ev­ery­thing right ex­cept fin­ish.”

Though he would have pre­ferred a more pol­ished per­for­mance, Can­non watched his third-seeded Sabres fin­ish twice Mon­day af­ter­noon, which proved enough for a 2-1 vic­tory over No. 6 Boys’ Latin in an MIAA B quar­ter­fi­nal.

Sts. Peter & Paul (12-4-1) ad­vances to play at No. 2 Friends (11-3-2) in a Thurs­day semi­fi­nal.

“I wasn’t con­cerned about not win­ning to­day,” said Can­non af­ter his first post­sea­son vic­tory dur­ing his four years as Sabres head coach. “But I was con­cerned over­all. And I think the per­for­mance … you could tell it was nervy with the kids. Pro­fes­sion­als would be nervy in this sit­u­a­tion. So when they’ve had such suc­cess (and then) had a slide right at a bad time, now I feel like we might be headed back where we want.

“The nerves are out now,” Can­non said. “We made amends for not be­ing good enough the last two games prior over­all, no mat­ter what it was. Come in and put in a gutsy per­for­mance and you get a re­sult. I’m very happy; proud of them. I think it’s go­ing to be a re­ally pos­i­tive in­jec­tion of en­ergy.”

Af­ter los­ing 3-1 and 6-1 to Sts. Peter & Paul dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, Boys Latin head coach Don Rick­els changed his align­ment from a 4-5-1 to a 4-3-3.

“The whole idea was to try and pre­vent their num­ber 10 (Matthew Bai­ley) from get­ting the ball and their (num­bers) six (Cole Koski) and five (James Hast­ings) up front,” Rick­els said. “So if we can con­tain 10 and keep an eye­ball on six and five, we thought the rest of the game we would have a good chance.”

Play was even through the first 27 min­utes, with each team build­ing a hand­ful of chances. The Sabres broke the score­less stale­mate with 12:27 re­main­ing in the first half, when Hast­ings launched a throw-in from the right side that Koski steered to­ward Owen Schroeder, whose shot glanced off the right post and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“Just a lit­tle de­flec­tion,” Koski said of the play. “G.R. told us, ‘Al­ways be on the back post.’ And it just bounced out there to me and I played it back across to Owen and he did what he had to do.”

Boys Latin (6-11) nearly tied it one minute later, when Sabres keeper Nathan Shafer made an ini­tial stop, but couldn’t con­trol the re­bound. The Lak­ers’ Ather­ton Townsend got to the ball in front of an open net but sent his shot over the cross­bar.

The Sabres had two chances to ex­tend their lead in the first half, Koski get­ting loose on right wing, but fir- ing a grounder that was eas­ily stopped by Lak­ers keeper Jor­dan Dou­glas, and Hast­ings drop­ping an­other long throw-in right in front of the goal­mouth that no Sts. Peter and Paul player could reach.

Both teams strug­gled to main­tain pos­ses­sion, and piece to­gether con­sis­tent buildups from the mid­field, but with 19:07 re­main­ing, back Quinn Cham­bers car­ried up left wing and fed Hast­ings, who struck a shot that Dou­glas saved, but couldn’t con­trol. A Lak­ers back went for the ball, but Bai­ley took it away and passed to Hast­ings, who with Dou­glas away from the goal, tapped in an easy score.

“I thought it was a very even game back and forth,” Rick­els said. “We gave them three or four op­por­tu­ni­ties and they fin­ished two of them. Our keeper had the ball in his hand and dropped it for that se­cond goal. And the first goal, we just didn’t step to clear the ball on that set piece. They’re the two glar­ing mis­takes that we made, and they’re too good of a team not to fin­ish.”

Shafer — who made a big stop on a first-half di­rect kick, and leaped for a sparkling punch-out near the corner of the goal in the se­cond half — and backs Cham­bers, Eric Peter­son, Con­nor LeMire and Clay Schmidt kept Boys Latin off the board un­til 2:32 re­main­ing when Dy­lan Pin­sky scored off a corner that pin­balled in front of the net be­fore get­ting knocked in for a 2-1 game.

“We’ve al­ways had a prob­lem with mark­ing up,” Peter­son said. “And I guess men­tally we just slipped up and it bounced around in there a few times and just got tapped home.

“There’s al­ways more work to do,” Peter­son added. “I think right now we’re in a sta­ble po­si­tion to go train th­ese next few days and do a job on Thurs­day.”

Though Can­non ad­mit­ted he wasn’t thrilled with his team’s play, he was be­yond happy with the re­sult.

“Any­time you can win in the play­offs, in this con­fer­ence, it’s ob­vi­ously a big thing,” said Can­non, whose team held a 16-8 ad­van­tage in shots. “It’s play­off time; doesn’t have to be pretty. We didn’t play well, but we got it done. I think the boys know we can do some­thing.”

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Saints Peter and Paul’s Cole Koski, left, gets a step on Gar­rett Glaeser of Boys’ Latin dur­ing Mon­day’s MIAA B Con­fer­ence quar­ter­fi­nal.

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