KI comes alive after the break, but first-half strike enough for JMB to capture Bayside title
CHESTERTOWN — James M. Bennett High senior Aiden Kelley curved a low corner kick through the Buccaneers’ crease and inside the far corner post with 23 minutes, 4 seconds left on the first-half clock to begin and end the scoring Monday evening in the Bayside Conference boys’ soccer championship game at Washington College.
James M. Bennett’s defense, led by goalie Nick Von Kollmar, frustrated Kent Island’s scorers the entire game and the Clippers held on for a 1-0 victory to hand the Buccaneers their first loss of the season.
Defending conference champion Kent Island dominated possession after Kelley’s goal but quality scoring opportunities were limited by the Clippers who last won the conference title in 2015.
“Our captains, Clinton Brown and Aiden Kelley, they were part of Skip Ruark’s last championship in 2015,” said Clippers head coach Gabe Kane. “They were the sophomores on varsity that year, so they really learned how to win this game from Skip. To see them come back and really battle back to get another one, they deserve it.”
“It was a battle of two good teams,” Buccaneers’ head coach Lin Outten said. “They got the goal and we didn’t, and all the possession and attack doesn’t matter if they’re defending really hard and your chances are never really clear chances. They’re kind of fringe chances and you’re hoping you get something on one of them, corner kick, something that squirts through. But credit them, they did a great job tonight and got the win.”
The Buccaneers had beaten Bennett 2-1 in their season-opener to start a run of 12 straight regularseason victories.
“They played more in the back than when we played them the first time around,” Outten said. “So they kept more defenders back, which everybody seems to do against us. It’s a very fast game on this turf and they kicked the ball around a little more than I thought. The first game they passed it more to each other. Today, it seemed that they were going with speed.”
Kent Island’s defense, led by Emerson Schultz, Kyle Allewalt, and Jonny Ritz, kept it a one-goal game, effectively shutting down the Clippers’ fast-breaks.
The Buccaneers outshot Bennett 7-2 in the second half and placed three shots on goal including a desperation 60-yarder by Allewalt in the final seconds.
Kent Island earned a corner kick with 7:40 remaining in the game but Kollmar came away from the goal and reached the ball first while colliding with Bucs senior Mike St. Ledger. Two other Kent Island corner-kick opportunities with less than two minutes to play also were defended.
Kent Island’s first cornerkick opportunity came with 31:53 to play in the first half. Ryan Knaggs sent the ball into the scoring area but a subsequent shot rolled wide right.
Off a long kick by Allewalt, St. Ledger pushed a header toward the goal with 25:40 left in the opening half. Von Kollmar slipped but recovered in time to get the ball before it crossed the goal line.
The Clippers (9-2-2) then rushed downfield and a shot by Garrett Southern was blocked by a Kent Island defender. That set up the game-winning corner kick, though, that Kelley delivered with precision, sending a left-footed spinner through interference in front of the goal and into the net.
“We were very fortunate to come out on top here,” said Clippers head coach Gabe Kane. “Like the last five times we’ve played them, it could have gone either way I feel like. Our defense really played strong the last 20 minutes to keep it clean.”
Bucs starting goalie Ben Schrecongost finished with four saves and Jackson Davis collected two in the second half.
Von Kollmar finished with five saves and also left the crease for several keepers to thwart potential attacks. Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at email@example.com
Kent Island High’s Alex Weese (10) moves the ball ahead during the Bayside Championship game Monday evening against James M. Bennett.