Hornets power past St. Charles in soccer playoffs
Senior earns hat trick as Great Mills boys move on in 3A South playoffs
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.”
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.
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.