Count­ing down the top sports sto­ries of 2018

Leonard­town boys soc­cer wins SMAC ti­tle, loses to Broad­neck

The Enterprise - - Front Page - COLIN STOECKER

Three years ago, Leonard­town’s boys soc­cer team was a team with a lot of young tal­ent but not much of a ré­sumé. The Raiders and their 11 se­niors won a third con­sec­u­tive South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence ti­tle this sea­son, though, by virtue of a 2-1 de­ci­sion over La Plata in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game at North Point High School.

Leonard­town, the SMAC Ch­e­sa­peake Divi­sion cham­pion, scored first mid­way through the first half and dou­bled its lead with a sec­ond goal be­fore La Plata’s Owen But­ler con­verted on a late penalty kick to cut the War­riors’ deficit to one. But the Raiders were not go­ing to be de­nied their third straight con­fer­ence crown.

Head coach Rob Hor was ex­cited to see his team’s hard work pay off, and the Raiders went into the play­offs as­the top seed in Sec­tion II of the 4A East Re­gion.

“Give a lot of credit to La Plata. They came out strong, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half,” said Hor, af­ter the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship match. “We thought we pos­sessed the ball ex­tremely well in the first half, but in the sec­ond half they stepped up their game and we didn’t match it at first. It re­sulted in us los­ing pos­ses­sion for a pe­riod of time, so credit to them.

“We have a re­ally good group of core se­niors that have been on var­sity for four years and have won three of these SMAC cham­pi­onships in a row. Credit to them.”

One of those se­niors, Ryan Con­way, was able to find the net for an in­sur­ance goal with roughly eight min­utes to play at a time when La Plata had been ratch­et­ing up the pres­sure on the other end of the field.

On a se­nior-heavy team, it was sopho­more Con­nor Yager who got Leonard­town (11-1 over­all) on the board first, as he was able to de­posit a re­bound into the net mid­way through the first half.

But when the play­offs opened the fol­low­ing game Leonard­town’s sea­son came to a heart­break­ing 2-1 end against Broad­neck.

Leonard­town was far from out of the con­test in the sec­ond half and with roughly six min­utes left to play, Yager scored on a header off of a cross from se­nior Xavier Dever, trim­ming Broad­neck’s lead to 2-1.

The loss in the Class 4A East Re­gion Sec­tion II fi­nal could be seen in the tear-streaked faces of many of the Raiders af­ter an emo­tional last hud­dle of the sea­son. It was a sea­son cut short for a Leonard­town team look­ing to go much fur­ther in the play­offs.

PHOTO BY DAR­NELL MARBURY

La Plata’s Justin San­ti­ago keeps the ball away from Leonard­town’s Luke Duswalt dur­ing the SMAC boys soc­cer cham­pi­onship game. Leonard­town de­feated La Plata 2-1 to win its third straight con­fer­ence ti­tle.

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