Counting down the top sports stories of 2018
Leonardtown boys soccer wins SMAC title, loses to Broadneck
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.
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.