Miller scores twice as Patuxent boys beat La Plata
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.
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.
Patuxent senior Jesse Kern kicks the ball upfield in Monday night’s 3-2 victory on the road at La Plata.