Hang­ing on

Miller scores twice as Patux­ent boys beat La Plata

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - By JOHN NISWANDER jniswan­der@somd­news.com

Un­der the lights Mon­day night at La Plata High School, Patux­ent boys soc­cer head coach Paul Gray could not wipe the smile off of his face talk­ing about how proud he was of his team’s 3-2 win.

“I am su­per proud of the boys. This is a game maybe last year we don’t win. We didn’t have the heart or de­ter­mi­na­tion be­fore and we are start­ing to see that now,” Gray said.

Patux­ent (6-3 over­all) was able to main­tain its early lead over La Plata (6-3) and hold off a fu­ri­ous War­riors push late to se­cure a win in this South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence cross­over matchup.

Less than two min­utes into the game, La Plata was the first to score off of a penalty kick that was con­verted by ju­nior Cole Trani.

This lead for La Plata was short-lived as the Pan­thers were quick to re­spond with a goal of their own.

Lo­gan Miller scored his first goal of the night af­ter sneak­ing in be­hind the War­riors de­fense and find­ing the back of the net with his shot.

“I just took ad­van­tage of their pretty high back­line and we were able to get in be­hind and just make the most of our op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Miller said.

Roughly 15 min­utes later, an­other op­por­tu­nity came the Pan­thers’ way.

Miller was awarded a penalty kick which he rock­eted into the bot­tom left cor­ner of the goal to grant his team a lead they would never relin­quish.

“I got a penalty kick and put that away. We re­ally made the best of our op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Miller said.

The Pan­thers were not fin­ished mak­ing the most of their op­por­tu­ni­ties in the first half.

With less than two min­utes to go in the half, se­nior Nate Kistler scored on a header off of a cor­ner kick to ex­tend the Patux­ent lead to 3-1 go­ing into the break.

La Plata re­sponded in the sec­ond half and fought hard to come back and even up the score.

The Pan­thers’ lead was cut in half when La Plata ju­nior J.D. San­ti­ago found the back of the net with just about 13 min­utes left in the game.

The War­riors had nu­mer­ous shots late to tie, but Patux­ent goal­keeper Ja­cob Goedeke made some key saves late to help main­tain the Pan­thers’ lead.

“There were a cou­ple of one-on-ones where I made some great op­por­tu­ni­ties for our team to keep the lead and keep us go­ing,” said Goedeke, who made 17 saves. “But it is re­ally all about the de­fense as well be­cause with­out them we wouldn’t have been able to get the ball out.”

Goedeke was able to stop a break­away with just about five min­utes to go that Gray knew was huge for his team.

“Our goalie Ja­cob made a cou­ple of great saves at the end to re­ally keep us in it be­cause that one was a break­away and he just came out and saved it. So that was huge for us,” Gray said.

Miller noted how im­por­tant this win was for the Pan­thers.

“It means a lot to win this game to­day. We came in off of a three-game los­ing streak to North Point, North­ern and Great Mills, so this was a big win for us to get back on our feet and just to re­group as a team,” Miller said.

Gray is op­ti­mistic for the fi­nal stretch of the sea­son, but

knows that tough teams loom on the sched­ule as well.

“It doesn’t get any eas­ier. Ev­ery game is tough and we are just build­ing and I re­ally think we are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. I am very pleased with tonight’s win it was great,” Gray said.

Patux­ent is slated to play at 6 tonight at Hunt­ing­town.

War­riors head coach Chris But­ler noted how tough los­ing a close game to a good team can be.

“I don’t think we came out with the kind of in­ten­sity that a high school soc­cer game needs. They are a very good team,” But­ler said. “I thought we had the right game plan, we just did not ex­e­cute it. We had our chances in front of the goal and it didn’t go in. It was a tough loss. Hope­fully we will see them again and we will try to make it a bet­ter game.”

La Plata is sched­uled to play at 4 p.m. Fri­day at North­ern.

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN NISWANDER

Grif­fin Gray, left, Nate Kistler, Evan Deahl and Kolton Black­i­stone of Patux­ent get set to de­fend a La Plata free kick in the first half of Mon­day’s con­test. Kistler went on to score a goal in the fi­nal min­utes of the first half in the Pan­thers’ 3-2 win.

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN NISWANDER

Patux­ent se­nior Jesse Kern kicks the ball up­field in Mon­day night’s 3-2 vic­tory on the road at La Plata.

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