K. Is­land slips by Rams in shootout

Davis’ saves, Bub­nov’s win­ning penalty kick lifts Buc­ca­neers to East Re­gion cham­pi­onship game

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Sports - By AY­MAN ALAM aalam@star­dem.com

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.

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

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.

PHOTO BY AY­MAN ALAM

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.

PHO­TOS BY AY­MAN ALAM

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.

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