Bucs stymied by Bears in state semifinal
CLARKSVILLE — As the minutes wilted down to seconds in its Class 2A state semifinal, Kent Island pressed for an equalizer that just would not come. Carlos Chevez tried to get a ball into the middle of the box and, just before time expired, a Buccaneers corner kick went harmlessly into space.
It just was not meant to be. Anthony Kocan volleyed home a cross from Kerem Yilmaz two minutes into the second half as Oakdale defeated Kent Island, 1-0, at River Hill High School.
“We just could not find a way to score the winning goal, or the equalizer when we got behind,” Kent Island coach Lin Outten said. “We needed to be super clean in the back and we need to keep learning how to win 1-0 games in the playoffs. We did better this year, but we need to keep doing it.”
The Buccaneers (14-3) went into the wind in the first half, creating some crazy balls in the air at both ends. Kocan went just wide left in the seventh minute and Riley Daiger went just high on a free kick three minutes later for the Bears (13-5-1). Kent Island held possession longer, but Oakdale had the higher quality chances.
“Our guys work hard on the pitch, they press all over the place, and they are really in tune to what we ask for defensively,” Oakdale coach Mitch Rubin said.
Rubin's Thomas Johnson teams in the mid 2000s routinely held high possession percentages, and he has learned that, in his third season at the Ijamsville school, not having the ball all the time is OK.
“We just do not ask for a lot of possession, and we still do not give up a lot of chances because of the defense,” Rubin said. “It is obviously a lot of running, but it has worked for us.”
Outten was encouraged by the game remaining scoreless at the half.
“The wind was in our face and I knew it was going to be difficult,” Outten said. “To come out 0-0 was a positive. I felt very confident at halftime that it would be our half. So, to take a strange goal like that was a surprise. I did not think the other team was going to score. They were pressing hard, they were playing hard, I just did not think they were going to score on us.”
Kent Island goalkeeper Jackson Davis is one of the best in the area and he patrols the entire box. He came out on a sequence early in the second half, but could not either gain possession of the ball or clear it. The ball ended up on Yilmaz' foot.
Bryan Langford and Chevez took good chances at Oakdale's goal off free kicks, but the shots normally just went a little high. The Buccaneers would not send the game into extra time, and would not go to Loyola.
“Today, the other team got us,” Outten said. “We will have to do the same thing we have the past couple of years — get JV guys to understand what we expect and how to perform at this level,” Outten said.