“We’ve been trying to do it all season. Every time it’s gone over my head . . . I just got a tiny bit on the ball and redirected it,” said O’Neil. “First goal this season. I’ll take credit for it.”
The goal left Walter Johnson’s (14-2) entire team stunned, sitting in their own zone as Wootton celebrated. It was a shocking end to a game that was stale at times Monday, with neither team able to find an offensive rhythm. The Patriots (15-1-1) haven’t won a Maryland 4A title since 1990.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Wootton Coach Doug Schuessler. “We emphasized getting more bodies into the box. Create more panic in front of the goal. Was that the difference on that free kick? . . . I don’t know. But we’ll take it either way.”
Most shots sailed on both teams in the thin November air on Monday, and the game was reminiscent of the defensive struggle that Walter Johnson won 1-0 back on Oct. 5. The second half was book-ended by two odd moments, which also served as the two best offensive chances in regulation. Walter Johnson’s Juan Ortiz booted a a 30-yard bomb that landed on top of the net, and the entire crowd erupted at the rare offensive firework. Wootton had an opportunity to take a 1-0 lead with 13 minutes left, with a cross that flew behind Walter Johnson goalie Ben Meyers. Matt Hoy was in the box to receive the pass, but whiffed on the header.
Hoy, who entered the game with 23 goals, and Walter Johnson’s dynamic striker Jeremy Ebobisse went back and forth, showing the impressive skills that made them two of the regions best offensive players.
But overtime belonged to Tsakos and O’Neil. Meyers had 130 saves this season, but he was handcuffed by the redirection by O’Neil. Schuessler admitted that he didn’t see the goal fully materialize, but knew something special when the “net moved.” On Saturday, the Patriots will meet Perry Hall in a state semifinal.
“I think we built momentum as a team. We never get really disappointed,” said Tsakos. “Soccer is one of those fluky games. The ball can go in anywhere.”. . .
Nickolas Jobst and Gibrill Sheriff scored in Reservoir’s 2-1 win over River Hill in the Maryland 3A East final. The Gators (11-6) will face the winner of Tuesday’s 3A South final in a state semifinal on Saturday.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase emerges again
In the girls’ 4A West Final, Eliza Doll scored from 15-yards out with about eight minutes remaining to lift Bethesda-Chevy Chase to a 1-0 win over Whitman.