Mav­er­ick boys open ti­tle de­fense with strong start

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

A crown may lie heavy upon one’s head, but it’s a bur­den the East­ern Tech boys soc­cer team in­tends to con­tinue bear­ing, thank you.

The de­fend­ing Class 2A state cham­pion Mav­er­icks had a strong start to the sea­son and ap­pear to have the skill and depth to de­fend both their state ti­tle and their Bal­ti­more County cham­pi­onship,

“We have a lot of tal­ent,” Easter Tech coach Pete Glaude­mans said. “We’ll see where it takes us.”

The Mav­er­icks have a solid core of 17 play­ers re­turn­ing from last sea­son, in­clud­ing four re­turn­ing starters: Josh Goet­zinger, Isaac Ngobu, Ti­mothy Wa;ter and Ryan Cum­mings.

East­ern Tech opened the sea­son by win­ning the Bel Air Tour­na­ment, edg­ing de­fend­ing Class 3A state cham­pion C. Mil­ton Wright 1-0 in the tour­na­ment fi­nal.

Ben Kropp headed in a cor­ner kick from Marco Bar­rera in the sec­ond half for the win­ning goal.

The Mav­er­icks de­feated Bel Air in the first round, 2-0.

East­ern Tech fol­lowed that up with a 5-4 loss to MIAA school Calvert Hall, a strong pri­vate school team. Dil­lon Nesteruk scored all four Mav­er­ick goals.

East­ern Tech hosted Du­laney on Fri­day and the two teams bat­tled to a 1-1 dou­ble-over­time draw.

Nesteruk scored for the Mav­er­icks.

That left the Mav­er­icks 2-1-1 af­ter four games against strong teams, all from schools larger than East­ern Tech.

The four re­turn­ing starters are all four-year var­sity play­ers. Kropp is one of the new starters ex­pected to make an im­pact, along with Matthew Davis, Ahmed Abd-Elazem, Mar­cos Bar­rera and Ryan Jankowiak.

And none of them feel un­easy about the two crowns they­wear — thee, if you count be­ing the de­fend­ing Bal­ti­more County Di­vi­sion I champs, also.

“I think they’re fine with it,” Glaude­mans said of his play­ers fac­ing the pres­sure of be­ing de­fend­ing champs. “We en­cour­age them to re­lax and en­joy the fun f the game.

“They’re not self­ish; they know it’s a team game and they trust their bud­dies and are will­ing to share the ball. There are a lot of good things about this team.”

The Mav­er­icks should face a strong chal­lenge in the di­vi­sion from Spar­rows Point, the de­fend­ing Class 1A state champ, Dun­dalk and Ca­tonsville.

They could po­ten­tially face Du­laney again in the county cham­pi­onship game.

River Hill, the Howard County team East­ern Tech de­feated in last year’s state cham­pi­onship game 2-0, is ranked sec­ond in the Metro area by the Sun (Tech is ranked 10th).

“We’re go­ing to have to work hard ev­ery sin­gle game,” Glaude­mans said.

East­ern Tech’s Dil­lon Nesteruk, right, scored six goals in the Mav­er­icks’ first four games of the sea­son.

PHO­TOS BY BILL GATES

Isaac Ngobu of East­ern Tech chases down a pass dur­ing the Mav­er­icks’ 1-1 tie with Du­laney on Fri­day.

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