Raphael’s night

Se­nior nets hat trick, in­clud­ing OT game-win­ner to put Calvert boys in 2A South fi­nal

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­news.com

De­spite be­ing pres­sured by a de­fense specif­i­cally de­signed to neu­tral­ize his ef­fec­tive­ness, Calvert High School se­nior Noah Raphael beat two La Plata High de­fend­ers then drilled a left-footed shot past La Plata se­nior goal­keeper Tony Martinelli to lift the Cava­liers to a 3-2, over­time vic­tory in Thurs­day’s Class 2A South Re- gion Sec­tion II fi­nal.

Calvert (11-5 over­all) ad­vanced to Tues­day’s re­gion fi­nal where it plays at River Hill of Howard County. A vic­tory puts the Cava­liers into the 2A state semi­fi­nals sched­uled for Satur­day right back at River Hill.

Thurs­day, the Cava­liers had scored the game’s first two goals in the first 15 min­utes of play, both cour­tesy of hard shots by Raphael. His first one eas­ily beat Martinelli and found the up­per right cor­ner of the net, but his sec­ond was nearly smoth­ered by the War­riors keeper and crawled over the line be­fore se­nior team­mate Zion Roberts could one­touch it into the net.

“When we had that 2-0 lead, we were so ex­cited and so con­fi­dent,” said Raphael, who is con­sid­er­ing four NCAA Di­vi­sion-I col­leges for soc­cer next year. “It was just like our first game of the sea­son against them when we went up 2-0 but ended up los­ing 4-2. When they got the sec­ond goal to tie the game, we knew we couldn’t let up.”

La Plata (10-6) over­came the slug­gish start to get within a goal at the in­ter­mis­sion when se­nior Seth DePri­est-Kessler took a cen­ter­ing pass from Justin “J.D” San­ti­ago and drilled a left-footed shot into the right cor­ner of the net to

bring the War­riors within 2-1 with less than two min­utes re­main­ing in the first half. It was a goal that ap­peared to give the hosts am­ple mo­men­tum.

“We def­i­nitely came out a lit­tle flat tonight,” La Plata coach Chris But­ler said. “Maybe it was

be­cause we had a tough game against South­ern on Tues­day. But [Calvert] had a game on Tues­day, too. But it’s like I tell the guys, one goal in the play­offs is like two in the reg­u­lar sea­son and two goals is like four. We re­ally had to work hard just to get even.”

La Plata had nu­mer­ous good scor­ing chances through­out the sec­ond

half, but did not get the equal­izer un­til se­nior Rob­bie Delozier scored on a header off a long throw-in by se­nior Nick McMan­han with just over seven min­utes re­main­ing. The War­riors dom­i­nated the re­main­der of reg­u­la­tion, but the hosts could not break the 2-2 tie.

In the open­ing minute of the first sched­uled 10-minute sud­den-death over­time, Raphael picked up a loose ball and drilled a shot high and wide of the tar­get. La Plata fol­lowed with an even bet­ter scor­ing chance, but DePri­est-Kessler, forced to kick right-footed af­ter suf­fer­ing a left leg in­jury, pushed the shot wide right.

Af­ter sev­eral min­utes of trad­ing pos­ses­sions near mid­field, Calvert was able to push the ball for­ward to Raphael, who drib­bled past one La Plata de­fender go­ing to his right, slid past another one go­ing to his left then drilled a left-footed shot — he is nat­u­rally right-footed — past the div­ing Martinelli and into the up­per right cor­ner of the net for the game-win­ner.

“Our en­tire de­fense was set up to stop him and he still scored,” But­ler said. “He beat two de­fend­ers and then beat the keeper. It was a heck of a play. The whole night they just seemed to play with a lit­tle more en­ergy than we did. I was hop­ing that we would play with more of a sense of ur­gency in the sec­ond half, but it took us a long time to get that sec­ond goal.”

PHOTO BY ROB WORMAN

Mem­bers of the Calvert High School boys soc­cer field cel­e­brate im­me­di­ately af­ter Cava­liers se­nior Noah Raphael de­liv­ered the game-win­ning goal with just over three min­utes re­main­ing in the first over­time to lift the team past host La Plata, 3-2, in a Class 2A South Re­gion Sec­tion II fi­nal match on Thurs­day evening.

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