Raiders lose in volleyball sectional playoffs
Leonardtown falls again to arch-nemesis Severna Park
MILLERSVILLE — Tuesday was dark and gloomy and the Leonardtown boys soccer team’s emotions matched that following its 4-0 loss to Severna Park of Anne Arundel County in the Class 4A East Region final at Kinder Park.
The Falcons (18-0-1 overall), who led 2-0 at halftime and received three goals from Drew Belloff, will face Bowie of Prince George’s County in the state semifinals Saturday at Dr. Henry A. Wise High School in Prince George’s County.
“We’re fortunate because obviously a lot of hard work goes into it and you have to earn your opportunity every year,” Severna Park head coach Ryan Parisi said of the match, which was contested in an unrelenting driving rainstorm. “Drew was great today, but there’s 10 guys behind him who allowed zero [goals] against a team that scored 80.”
The Raiders (15-3 overall) have lost the last two regional finals to Severna Park.
“We’ve struggled with them and honestly, I thought this was the year we were going to get them,” said Leonardtown head coach Dave Holland, who is 0-4 in regional finals against the Falcons. “I’m very surprised with the result. They are [a thorn in our side], but they’re just a really good program if we ever want to get to states and unfortunately we weren’t able to do it.”
Leonardtown controlled the play in the early goings and had several chances, but Severna Park opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Falcons goalkeeper Sam Farrell booted a long punt and Belloff chased the ball into the box and was taken down on a challenge by Leonardtown goalkeeper TJ Landrum. Belloff then buried the penalty kick.
“It’s a tough call on the keeper’s part because he has to make a tough decision right there whether to come out
or not, and I guess he didn’t get the ball,” Holland said. “The problem with that is that we had all the momentum at that point and it sparked them. I noticed their energy level really picked up after that point.”
“I think both teams were set up differently and Leonardtown had plenty of possession,” Parisi said, “but we got a great opportunity off that long punt from Sam.”
Belloff scored his second of the game 15 minutes later when he took a pass from Ryan Muldoon and tucked a shot past Landrum.
“We held possession for the majority of the match, but you have to capitalize on your opportunities and we weren’t able to do that,” Holland said. “These [Severna Park] guys are well coached and they do a great job of sharing the ball and containing and controlling the midfield.”
Belloff completed the natural hat trick in the 59th minute when he dribbled around two defenders and then curled a shot into the far corner.
“Drew was great today,” Parisi said. “He had three different finishes and he did a great job.”
Jack Goode added Severna Park’s final goal with a few minutes left.
“It’ll take some time to digest this,” Holland sad. “This is a hurdle we’ve been trying to get over since I took over, and until we get over this hurdle we’re not going to be satisfied.”
Leonardtown, which won the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division title and later the conference championship, will lose 11 seniors.
“I feel bad for our seniors. It’s such a strong group of kids and I real- ly thought this as gong to be the year we broke through because we had such strong leadership,” Holland said. “They were very hungry for it and they deserved it, but the outcome is the outcome. They took advantage of their opportunities and they deserved it tonight. That’s what sports is all about.”
Leonardtown’s Nik Kokolios, left, tries to get past Severna Park’s Ryan Nelson during Tuesday’s Class 4A East Region championship game, a 4-0 Raiders loss.
Above left, Leonardtown’s Joey Buckley, left, an Severna Park’s Drew Belloff chase down a loose ball during Tuesday’s Class 4A East Region championship game. Belloff scored three goals in the Falcons’ 4-0 win. Above right, Leonardtown’s Christoffer Jensen jumps to avoid a sliding tackle by Severna Park’s Ryan Muldoon as he chases down a loose ball.