Leonard­town soc­cer teams sweep twin­bill

Boys soc­cer edges Gon­zaga, girls get past Bel Air

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com

The Leonard­town soc­cer teams each passed tough tests as the boys and girls squads swept a dou­ble­header Tues­day night.

Mad­die Bridg­wa­ter scored both goals, in­clud­ing the even­tual game-win­ner in the 74th minute, as the girls posted a 2-1 win over Bel Air of Har­ford County.

“Bel Air’s a qual­ity team and it was great com­pe­ti­tion for us tonight,” said Leonard­town head coach Jen­nifer Hen­der­son, whose team dropped two matches to tough teams at a tour­na­ment at Spar­rows Point last weekend. “They’re learn­ing to play to­gether and we’ve had a very com­pet­i­tive start in terms of the com­pe­ti­tion we’ve played and I think that’s good ex­pe­ri­ence that will only make us stronger.”

In the boys game, Aaron Choo scored in the 68th minute to power the boys to a 3-2 win over Gon­zaga of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

“When you play that qual­ity of an op­po­nent it ex­poses your weak­nesses, so that was the best part for us be­cause it al­lowed us to re­flect on things that we needed to work on,” said Leonard­town head coach Dave Hol­land, whose team split two games at last weekend’s Ca­tonsville Tour­na­ment. “Th­ese are the kinds of games that will pre­pare us for down the road.”

In the boys game, the Raiders (3-1 over­all) held a two-goal lead on goals by Nik Koko­lios (29th minute) and Ja­cob Bres­lauer (43rd), but Gon­zaga stormed back to tie the game.

Six min­utes after Bres­lauer’s tally, Gon­zaga pulled to within a goal on Ryan Teuschel’s tap-in and tied the game on Aus- tin Smith’s penalty kick in the 64th minute.

But just four min­utes later, Leonard­town’s Dion­tre Barnes sent a ball into the box and Choo con­verted.

“Dion­tre took a shot with his left foot and it was go­ing to go to the goal­keeper,” said Choo, a se­nior in his first year with the team, “but I took a flick with my left [foot] and into the cor­ner of the net. It’s amaz­ing for the school and for the team.”

The game was the first of the sea­son Choo had played at for­ward, and Hol­land ap­pears to have found a new striker.

“He puts re­lent­less pres­sure on the other teams’ de­fense and he wants to score goals, so he has a nose for the ball and he puts pres­sure on the de­fense hop­ing to get a lit­tle flick or touch and he’s in,” Hol­land said. “And that’s

what you want your strik­ers to do [and] I think he’s more com­fort­able at that spot.”

The Ea­gles (1-4-1) have scored five goals in their last two games after net­ting just one in their first four games.

“It is a good gauge, but we have to learn how to put the ball in the net,” said Gon­zaga head coach Scott Waller, who started four sopho­mores. “We made some ad­just­ments and I think we did re­ally well in the sec­ond half dom­i­nat­ing the play. We just didn’t put the ball in the net and that’s cru­cial. That’s how games are won or lost, it’s not how long you have the ball or how well you pass the ball.”

“I thought the in­ten­sity was there from be­gin­ning to end, we just lacked that fin­ish­ing touch,” said Teuschel, a se­nior. “The ball was in our at­tack­ing half for most of the game, just ev­ery once in a while you have a game where you can’t put it away.”

T.J. Lan­drum made seven saves for Leonard­town, while Gon­zaga goalie Nick Ger­lach, who will play at NCAA Di­vi­sion I Col­gate next year, made six.

“The big thing tonight was win­ning 50-50 balls and to go ag­gres­sively to the ball, which we weren’t do­ing this [past] weekend, but we did it tonight,” said Hol­land, who added he wasn’t wor­ried about los­ing the two-goal lead against Gon­zaga. “When you’re play­ing a qual­ity op­po­nent a one-goal lead or two-goal is not safe. It’s for us to fight back and they put pres­sure on us and we re­sponded.”

Girls night out

The Leonard­town girls kicked off the dou­ble­header with a tough con­test against the Bob­cats, whom the Raiders de­feated 3-2 in over­time last year.

“It was a team ef­fort and I’m re­ally happy with the in­ten­sity everyone showed tonight,” said Bridg­wa­ter, a ju­nior. “We’ve been prac­tic­ing re­ally hard and I’m just happy we all came to­gether. There is room for im­prove­ment, but we’re work­ing re­ally hard in prac­tice so I can’t ask for more.”

De­spite a slow start in which Bel Air had nu­mer­ous scor­ing chances, it was Leonard­town which struck first in the 23rd minute when Bridg­wa­ter’s shot found the far side.

The Bob­cats (2-2) tied the game in the fi­nal mo­ments of the first half when Lau­ren Asher drove a ball past Raiders goal­keeper Madison Ins­ley, who fin­ished the game with six saves.

But with less than 10 min­utes re­main­ing, a shot skipped past Bel Air goal­keeper Jill Kozak and Bridg­wa­ter drib­bled down the right side and, just a few yards from the end line, sent a sharply-an­gled shot into the mesh.

“I think we did come out a lit­tle flat,” Hen­der­son said. “We knew it was go­ing to be a very in­tense match and for­tu­nately the girls picked it up as they played. Ob­vi­ously we need to be able to come out strong from the kick­off, so that’s def­i­nitely some­thing we need to ad­dress, but we knew it was go­ing to be an in­tense match.”

The girls are sched­uled to host un­de­feated Hunt­ing­town in a South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence Ch­e­sa­peake Di­vi­sion show­down on Mon­day, while the boys are slated to travel to Thomas Stone tonight and to Hunt­ing­town on Mon­day. All con­tests are sched­uled for 6 p.m.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Leonard­town’s Aaron Choo, pic­tured here chas­ing a loose ball down the side­lines, scored the even­tual win­ning goal in Tues­day’s 3-2 win over Gon­zaga.

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