KI comes alive af­ter the break, but first-half strike enough for JMB to cap­ture Bay­side ti­tle

Record Observer - - Sports -

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 ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Kent Is­land High’s Alex Weese (10) moves the ball ahead dur­ing the Bay­side Cham­pi­onship game Mon­day evening against James M. Ben­nett.

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