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