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