K. Island slips by Rams in shootout
Davis’ saves, Bubnov’s winning penalty kick lifts Buccaneers to East Region championship game
STEVENSVILLE — The taunting directed at Jackson Davis arrived seemingly all game. “He’s no good.” “He’s no good.” “He’s only good because of his defenders jumping in front of shots.” And so on. Parkside High made it vocal, loud and clear to each other throughout Thursday’s Class 2A East Section II boys’ soccer final that Kent Island’s senior goalkeeper was simply not good enough to stop them, that he was too reliant on his defense to bail him out.
Jackson heard some of the taunts — gamesmanship or not — but deflected it all into the blowing winds on this cool, autumn evening, just as he had deflected just about everything the Rams threw at him across 80 minutes and a pair of 10-minute overtimes.
And then in the shootout, Davis heard the only thing he actually needed to process, head coach Lin Outten’s voice.
“I heard it and it really doesn’t matter to me,” Davis said of Parkside’s vocalizations. “As long as I do my thing, I’m fine with myself.
“First two, I was completely overthinking it,” Davis added of letting two PKs slip by. “And then I heard Coach yell at me, ‘It’s just a regular shot’. On the last one, I took it like a regular shot, and left
my feet once he shot it.”
Up 3-2 after having his team come back from down 1-0 and 2-1 in the penalty shootout, Davis stopped Parkside’s fourth shot to set the up game winner. Junior Mike Bubnov did the rest, swishing Kent Island’s fourth attempt and catapulting the Buccaneers into the East Region final in thrilling fashion via 4-2 on penalty kicks.
“We were just keeping our heads in the game, and it paid off in the end,” said Davis, who finished with seven saves.
Added Outten, his team now 13-2: “The second half, we finally started getting our shots. We weren’t getting our shots in the first half. I can’t say they were tired, but their possessions were not as good as in the second half. All of a sudden we were winning balls in the middle and getting good looks at the goal.”
Parkside sophomore Gavin Miller converted the first penalty kick, and Bucs junior Alex Weese matched him, both shots eluding the keepers when they guessed wrong. Rams senior Asher Amey made it 2-1, and Bucs junior Judah Brobst tied it again at 2-2. Rams senior Kade Johnson’s shot clanged off the crossbar, and Kent Island junior Carlos Chevez tucked it in low and right for a 3-2 lead before Davis and Bubnov’s heroics.
It was the third straight year Kent Island eliminated Parkside in the section final. The Buccaneers will host Section I winner Fallston on Tuesday at Andy Schipul Stadium; the Cougars eliminated a stellar, Kent Island squad in 2017 in a 2-0 final.
Bubnov, a foreignexchange student from Ukraine who joined the team in late September, shortly after Kent Island suffered its lone regular-season loss at the hands of the Rams, did not take the field at any time Thursday. Outten, however, elected to let the experienced club player tee up against Parkside freshman David Filart, who subbed in for sophomore Gavin Gray as the stronger stopper on penalty kicks.
“I just imagined that it was practice,” said Bubnov, a graduate of the Shakhtar Donetsk Academy, a premier club team in the Ukraine. “I reminded myself of all the moments when I practiced the penalty kicks and I just imagined that I was alone in the stadium, and that helped me.
“To tell you the truth, it’s not my first experience like this, I played six years (of club ball), and we had a lot of tough games,” Bubnov added. “I like the atmosphere here, and it’s great for the fans, for the team. I don’t think it’s good when you win 7-0, it messes with your head in games like these.”
The Rams appeared to be in control throughout, excelling on first touches, 50/50 balls and — most notably — clearing Kent Island out of the box behind the strength of a sensational backline of seniors Amey, Johnson, Stevie Mancha and junior sweeper Jered Monar.
The Bucs were outshot 5-2 in the first half, during which stretch the Rams controlled possession to a 3-1 clip, though missed opportunities will likely haunt a squad that suffered its first and only loss of the season after coming in with a 10-0-3 mark.
“They’re a good team, we’re a good team, it was a battle,” Parkside head coach Chris Burkhardt said. “You get two teams in a fight, it’s going to come down to one little thing, and today, it came down to PKs.
“The backline has been the backbone of our team,” Burkhardt added. “We gave up five goals all year, we didn’t trail in a game until our last regular-season game of the year, and here we are, going home ...”
Monar’s long throw-ins repeatedly afforded Parkside chances to capitalize, but the Bucs’ defense always came up clutch. Inside the 19th minute, Miller’s shot was redirected right in front of goal by Kent Island junior Johnny Ritz. With 8 minutes, 33 seconds left before the break, following a questionable yellow card on Bucs senior Jason Kazzi, Miller was again denied when Kent Island’s defense converged on a direct kick from just outside the box.
Davis then booted away the ensuing carom, preserving the scoreless tie through 40 minutes. A weak dribbler inside the 19th minute and a long shot from Chevez with 3½ minutes left before halftime were the Buccaneers’ only shots of the first half, though momentum was slowly turning.
“That has been us throughout a lot of this season,” Outten said. “For whatever reason, the second half, we just play stronger than the first half, especially when we’re playing the better teams.
“We wanted to make sure we were solid defensively,” Outten added. “We gave away an overtime goal to (James M.) Bennett in the (Bayside) conference championship, and I didn’t want to do that again.”
In addition to accurate and long-distance throw-ins by Monar, the Rams also received plenty of chances on corner kicks, but came up with nothing on eight total attempts, to only two for Kent Island.
Following the break, Parkside did not attempt a shot until inside the 19th minute of the second half, which ended up wide right of Davis. About two minutes later, Davis tipped away a pointblank blast by Mancha over the crossbar, and the Bucs cleared the subsequent corner.
With about 15 minutes left in regulation, Kent Island cobbled together a nice passing sequence, ending with senior Bryan Langford rolling one right at Gray, snuffed out easily. A series of back-and-forth play ensued the rest of the regulation, and little headway was made by either squad during the overtime sessions before Kent Island punched their tickets to the region final for the third straight year.
Kent Island goalie Julia Abendsschoen celebrates with her teammates after stopping a penalty stroke during the second half of Wednesday’s Class 2A South Region championship.
Kent Island’s Mike Bubnov celebrates after converting the winning penalty kick against Parkside’s David Filart during Thursday’s Class 2A East Section II final.
Members of the Kent Island High soccer team, including junior Mike Bubnov (23), who kicked the winning goal in a shootout Thursday against Parkside, celebrate after a Class 2A East Section II final victory. The game was scoreless through two overtimes, and the Buccaneers won on penalty kicks, 4-2.
Kent Island’s Carlos Chevez, right, looks to control the ball against Parkside’s Asher Amey during Thursday’s Class 2A East Section II final.
Kent Island’s Jonathan Alvarez and Parkside’s Asher Amey close in on the ball during Thursday’s Class 2A East Section II final.