Hor­nets power past St. Charles in soc­cer play­offs

Se­nior earns hat trick as Great Mills boys move on in 3A South play­offs

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID

Lead­ing by a goal, Great Mills head boys soc­cer coach Matt Protz­man knew his team had to come out hard the first 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half in or­der to take con­trol of the game.

Ten min­utes? Not so much. Mar­cus Minich scored 45 sec­onds into the sec­ond half and Great Mills ex­ploded for seven goals over the fi­nal 40 min­utes to de­feat vis­it­ing St. Charles 9-1 in the Class 3A South Sec­tion II semi­fi­nal play­off game on Tues­day.

The top-seeded Hor­nets (12-3 over­all) hosted sec­ond-seeded Hunt­ing­town on Thurs­day in the sec­tion cham­pi­onship game. The win­ner moves on to the re­gion fi­nal sched­uled for Tues­day ver­sus the win­ner of the Sec­tion I fi­nal be- tween City of Bal­ti­more and Po­tomac of Prince Ge­orge’s County.

Great Mills, which had de­feated the Spar­tans 3-0 on Oct. 17, was led by Minich’s pure hat trick. The se­nior also net­ted goals in the 56th and 61st min­utes. Fran­cisco Por­tillo, Gabriel Ich­niowski, Michael Salguero, Kelvin Coron­ado, Wil­liam Doughty and Ulises Tor­res each scored once for the Hor­nets, who have won their last three games.

An­drew McKnight scored the lone goal for the fourth-seeded Spar­tans (7-7), who earned the pro­gram’s first ex­tra-time win and play­off win with a penalty kick de­ci­sion over fifth-seeded Chop­ti­con in the sec­tion quar­ter­fi­nals on Fri­day. St. Charles’ se­niors were pre­vi­ously 0-7 in ex­tra-time games.

“It got bet­ter as the year went on and that’s al­ways what you want to do,” said St. Charles head coach Matt Chisholm, who will lose 17 of 21 play­ers to grad­u­a­tion. “The goal is al­ways to play your best soc­cer at the end and we did that.”

Great Mills sur­ren­dered a late first-half goal and led just 2-1 head­ing into half­time.

“We were in pretty good po­si­tion, but then we let them get one to where it was a one-goal lead. So com­ing out at half­time, we said the first 10 min­utes was crit­i­cal,” Protz­man said. “We wanted to make sure ev­ery 50-50 ball we were the ones that were winning it, and once we won it we took our time to con­nect our passes in or­der to get good looks at the goal. We got the early one, and then we got an­other one and that re­ally helped.”

“If you hold them off, or even if you’re the ag­gres­sor in the first 10 min­utes, then you have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sec­ond half,” Chisholm said. “Go­ing into half­time, the last thing they re­mem- bered was that we scored [a few min­utes ear­lier], but we also had to keep in mind that they were go­ing to come out hard the first 10 min­utes.” Minich made it 3-1 just

sec­onds into the sec­ond half when he drilled a cross by Ich­niowski past St. Charles goal­keeper Jeremiah Allen.

“It was a per­fect ball by Gabe. He couldn’t have put it any­where else. And the goalie got a slight touch on it, but I was in a per­fect po­si­tion,” Minich said.

“The key tonight was the early goal in the sec­ond half, but even our mind­set con­trib­uted to it,” Great Mills ju­nior Tucker Protz­man said. “We came out and we wanted to take the ball away and press right from the get-go and we car­ried it through the whole game.”

The Hor­nets scored four goals in the fi­nal cou- ple of min­utes of the sec­ond half.

“I be­lieve we played well for the first half, but the sec­ond half was all down­hill,” Allen said. “I thought the de­fense did a tremen­dous job, it’s just that [Great Mills] was get­ting balls through which was chal­leng­ing for our back line.”

De­spite the sea­son-high of­fen­sive out­put, Matt Protz­man said the team’s focus is on the de­fen­sive side of the ball.

“We focus mainly on de­fense be­cause if we can win the de­fen­sive bat­tles, the of­fense will come, and that showed here,” he said. “Ev­ery time they got the ball we did a good job of tak­ing away their op­tions and winning the ball and get­ting the at­tack go­ing and once we broke it open we started get­ting [more] op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Leonard­town ad­vances

Aaron Choo and Lukas Koko­lios each scored to pro­pel Leonard­town to a 2-0 win over vis­it­ing Broad­neck of Anne Arun­del County in a Class 4A East Sec­tion II semi­fi­nal matchup.

“We re­ceived a very strong ef­fort from our de­fense and our pass­ing was ex­cel­lent through­out the match,” Leonard­town head coach David Hol­land wrote in an email to South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers. “We will need to do a bet­ter job of fin­ish­ing our shots and tak­ing ad­van­tage of our of­fen­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties. The boy’s came into the match very fo­cused. Hope­fully that will con­tinue through­out the play­offs.”

The top-seeded Raid- ers (14-2) will host sec­ond-seeded South River, also of Anne Arun­del County, in the sec­tion fi­nal at 5 p.m. to­day. The Sea­hawks (11-2-3) ad­vanced fol­low­ing a 3-1 win over North Point.

Choo opened the scor­ing in the 19th minute off an as­sist by Casey Cruz and Koko­lios, who leads the team in goals, added an in­surance marker in the 70th minute on a penalty kick. Hol­land said Christof­fer Jensen played a key role by con­tin­u­ally winning balls in the mid­field and set­ting up the of­fense and TJ Lan­drum made two saves to pre­serve the shutout.

Leonard­town dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion and had an ad­van­tage in cor­ner kicks (9-2) and shots (17-5).

Broad­neck fin­ished its sea­son at 9-7-3 over­all.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID

Great Mills’ Kelvin Coron­ado, left, and Michael Salguero help Gabriel Ich­niowski cel­e­brate his firsthalf goal in Tues­day’s 9-1 win over St. Charles in the Class 3A South Re­gion sec­tion semi­fi­nals.

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