Pointer boys title defense ends with stunning loss to Raiders
Loch Raven rallies to win in overtime, 2-1
Less than 15 minutes away from essentially locking up a second straight regional title and a berth in the state semifinals, Class 1A defending state champion Sparrows Point instead saw its season come to a sudden end.
Loch Raven tied the game with 14:40 remaining, then scored the winning goal one minute into overtime to stun Sparrows Point 2-1 on Friday in the Class 1A North Region semifinals.
The Raiders advanced to play Benjamin Franklin in the regional championship game. Loch Raven, as Sparrows Point would have been, is virtually a lock to defeat the Baltimore City school.
The end came quick: After an initial Sparrows Point foray into Loch Raven’s end of the field, the Raiders gained possession of the ball and brought it up the right wing.
Granted a throw-in, Loch Raven put the ball right on the near post. It was knocked away to the right, where a Raider player was waiting to pole it into the next as the ball landed on the ground.
Sparrows Point had beaten Loch Raven during the regular season, but only by a score of 2-1. So the Pointers knew to expect a tight battle.
Averaging nearly five goals a game in the 13 games prior, Sparrows Point could suddenly not find the net. The Pointers could rarely get off a shot, thanks to the tight, pressuring defense employed by the Raiders.
Sparrows Point ballhandlers could not find room to shoot, despite good ball movement.
Still, the Pointers seemed to be in good shape when Ben Hester found a way around the tight defense by going above it.
Hester scored on a header off a long pass to give Sparrows Point a 1-0 lead with 26 minutes remaining.
It could have been enough against, realistically, the only team in the Class 3A North region with a chance of beating Sparrows Point. But the Raiders managed to find a crack in the Pointer defense and forced overtime.
Sparrows Point ended the season with a 9-4-2 record. Last season, the Pointers took a losing record into the playoffs en route to winning the Class 1A state title.
Loch Raven after the expected victory over Benjamin Franklin, will face either International-Langley Park or International-Largo in the state semifinals.
Sparrows Point’s opponent in last year’s state final, Patterson Mill, has already won the East Region title and will play either Mountain Ridge or Clear Spring in the state semifinals.
Dundalk ended its season with a 3-0 loss at C. Milton Wright in the second round of the Class 3A North Region Section II tournament.
The Pointers advanced to the sectional final against Loch Raven by defeating 2016 Class 1A state champ Pikesville 6-0 on Oct. 30.
Sparrows Point players attempt to clear the Loch Raven throwin that led to the winning goal for the Raiders.
A Sparrows Point player reacts against the background of Loch Raven celebrating its upset of Class 1A defending champion Sparrows Point with a 2-1 victory in overtime in the regional semifinals.