Es­sex men sur­vive two shootouts, win­ning 6th straight re­gion ti­tle

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com

The CCBC Es­sex men’s soc­cer team must travel to Detroit and take on the na­tion’s 2nd-ranked team in the NJCAA North Cen­tral District cham­pi­onship game on Satur­day.

Pres­sure? Let the Knights tell you about pres­sure. To win its sixth con­sec­u­tive Re­gion XX ti­tle, Es­sex had to sur­vive two straight penalty kick shootouts.

Play­ing sec­ond-ranked School­craft Col­lege, in com­par­i­son, will be prac­ti­cally stress-free.

Es­sex de­feated Fred­er­ick Com­mu­nity Col­lege in penalty kicks on Satur­day at CCBC Dun­dalk in the re­gional cham­pi­onship game.

The Knights won the shootout 5-3 after the two teams ended up tied 1-1 through 90 min­utes of reg­u­la­tion and two 10-minute over­time pe­ri­ods.

On Oc­to­ber 24, Es­sex beat CCBC Ca­tonsville in penalty kicks 4-3 after reg­u­la­tion and two over­time pe­ri­ods ended with the score tied 2-2.

Cle­ment Blamo (Dun­dalk High) tied the game against Fred­er­ick with 23 min­utes re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion.

The Cougars had taken a 1-0 lead six min­utes ear­lier.

The Knights made all five of their at­tempts dur­ing the shootout. Es­sex goal­keeper Kyle Cooper made a save

on Fred­er­ick’s first at­tempt for the mar­gin of vic­tory.

Jake Den­gler, Car­los Guz­man-Her­nan­dez, Seth Wal­ter and Robert Simms made the first four penalty kicks for Es­sex.

The Cougars did not at- tempt their fifth shot, as Es­sex sealed the win when Wal­ter Avila suc­cess­fully con­verted his at­tempt for an in­sur­mount­able mar­gin. Shootouts are best- of­five; if still tied after five, the shootout con­tin­ues un­til one team takes the lead.

That hap­pened in the semi­fi­nal against Ca­tonsville, when the teams were tied 2-2 after the first five shots.

Dun­dalk High grad­u­ates made both goals in the pres­sure-packed “sud­den vic­tory” round of the shootout: Varmah Siryon made his shot to keep the shootout tied, then Blamo gave Es­sex a 4-3 lead.

Cooper then got a hand on the next Ca­tonsville penalty kick and sent it wide to win the game.

Es­sex led 2-1 after the first two rounds of the shootout, but the Knights (who shot first) missed their next three shots as the Car­di­nals made one of two.

That put the game on the shoul­ders of Cooper, as Ca­tonsville could have won the game if it con­verted its fifth at­tempt. But the shot went high, grant­ing the Knights a re­prieve.

It seemed the game was un­likely to even reach over­time, let alone a penalty kicki shootout, as the Knights led 2-0 in the sec­ond half on goals by Den­gler and Bryan Roney.

May­col Nunez as­sisted on both goals.

The Car­di­nals (7-10-2) scored on a set play with 24:25 re­main­ing in the game, and tied the score with a goal off of a cor­ner kick with a lit­tle over six min­utes left to play.

Blamo had two shots on goal in the open­ing mnutes of the game, but one was saved by Ca­tonsville goal­keeper Bran­don Basilio and one hit off the cross­bar.

Es­sex out­shot Ca­tonsville 25-9, with 13 shots be­ing on goal, but Basilio made 11 saves.

Blamo’s game-ty­ing goal against Fred­er­ick was his 10th of the sea­son. Den­gler as­sisted on the score.

Blamo had four shots dur­ing the first over­time pe­riod, but three were saved by Cougar goal­keeper Marco De Lauri and one was high of the goal.

In ad­di­tion to win­ning its sixth straight re­gional ti­tle, Es­sex (13-5-2) won its third con­sec­u­tive Mary­land JuCo crown this sea­son.

School­craft Col­lege (140) has al­lowed four goals all sea­son.

The CCBC Es­sex women’s soc­cer team de­feated Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land 3-1 in the Re­gion XX semi­fi­nals, then lost to Har­ford Com­mu­nity Col­lege 9-1 in Fri­day’s re­gional ti­tle game.

Lind­sea Webb (Spar­rows Point) score a goal against South­ern Mary­land, off an as­sist from Mackenzie Smythe (Spar­rows Point).

Two other Spar­rows Point grad­u­ates, Kasie Lam­bert and Alexan­dria Adams, play for Har­ford. The Owls (17-1) are ranked ninth in the NJCAA.

Har­ford will host Cape Fear on Satur­day at 11 a.m. in the District ti­tle game.

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