Bulldogs fall in first round to Queen Anne’s
RIDGELY — The Queen Anne’s County High boys’ soccer team came from behind Friday to advance in the 2A East Section II playoffs with a 2-1 openinground victory at North Caroline.
Evan Shade’s two secondhalf goals erased a 1-0 deficit. The Lions (7-5-1) move on to play top seed and Bayside North champ Kent Island on Tuesday.
“Congratulations to North Caroline on a great season. They are a great team,” said Queen Anne’s head coach Wade Hosler. “In the regular season, they beat us 4-3 in overtime. It was a backand-forth game the way tonight was.
“When they got up, I knew we could come back,” he added. “At halftime we talked about some things we knew we could do better. We came out and did some nice things in the second half to get the lead.
“I’m just really proud of my guys,” he continued. “We came out and played hard. We’ve played hard all year. I’m really happy things went our way tonight.”
North Caroline (5-7-1) got on the board in the first half when Liam Dowdall corralled a crossing pass and scored for a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs had a chance for a 2-0 lead but Queen Anne’s goalkeeper Ryan Holdgreve stopped a Justin Tasker penalty shot.
“Ryan has been great for us,” Hosler said. “The PK stop is huge. You never expect them to save it, you just hope they can. For him to make that save really kept us in the game.”
The Lions got their offense going early in the second half. They sustained the pressure, and Shade found a clearing to score in the 45th minute to tie the game at 1-1.
The momentum continued with QA controlling the possessions. In the 52nd minute, P.J. Gunther took a free kick near midfield and fired a ball into the box. North Caroline goalie Merrick Wood made a save, but the ball ricochetted in Shade’s direction. He quickly got off a header and scored to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.
The Bulldogs countered the score with their own rush, and earned a corner kick in the 55th minute. Brett Blue sent the corner to the middle and Nathaniel Sharp got a shot off but the shot went wide.
Sharp got another chance in the 71st minute, this time on a throw-in. His toss found the goal box, but Queen Anne’s defenders were able to clear the zone.
Two minutes later, Dowdall created another chance with a lead pass to the box, but Holdgreve gobbled up the loose ball before it found a Bulldog foot.
As the clock ticked down, the tension continued to mount. Then everyone collectively held their breaths in the 77th minute.
Dowdall broke free and raced down the middle on a breakaway. Holdgreve sprinted from the net and dove for the ball. Dowdall shook to the left by Holdgreve and guided a shot toward the empty net. The ball, however, glided just outside of the left post with Queen Anne’s 2-1 lead intact.
North Caroline mustered one more scoring chance with less than two minutes left. With Sharp doing a throw-in near the goal, goalie Wood ran from the other side of the field to join the attack.
Sharp’s throw found open space in the box, and Wood had a chance with a shot from 18 yards out. But Wood’s shot sailed high of the net, giving possession back to the Lions.
QA controlled the possession for the remaining seconds to hold on for the victor y.
“Give credit to Queen Anne’s, they played well,” said North Caroline head coach John Austin. “We knew going in it was a 50-50 game.
“We played well,” he added. “It was a good soccer match. It is just disappointing it had to end for us.”
North Caroline’s Evan Amador drives the ball upfield against Queen Anne’s Friday, Oct. 26.