* Thomas Stone 3, St. Mary's Ryken 2 (OT)
As Thomas Stone's boys soccer game at St. Mary's Ryken moved into overtime Tuesday afternoon, Cougars Coach Mike Emrick made a seemingly unconventional decision. He moved his best defensive player to offense and most potent offensive player to defense.
It worked, as junior Dave Bonney scored on a close-in shot less than one minute into overtime to give the visiting Cougars a 3-2, sudden-death victory in a key Southern Maryland Athletic Conference game.
Emrick said he moved stopper Bonney up and midfielder/forward Jimmie Dade back because he wanted Bonney to use his speed to create a scoring chance.
"Dave had played forward until the Ryken game last year, when we realized he was our fastest player and we needed him more on defense," Emrick said. "I switch things around a lot and thought, 'Why not try Dave on offense?' We thought he could use that speed to split Ryken's defense and get close to the goalie."
Bonney actually had two scoring chances in overtime. But he was a split second too late to convert a low cross from junior Rusty Pentz into an open net seconds into the overtime.
"I was not too upset about the first chance because I figured if I kept playing hard, I would get another one," Bonney said. "I was not that surprised when coach moved me to offense, because I figured he wanted someone fast to go in there."
Ryken (3-1, 0-1 SMAC) played with 10 men after one of its players received a red card for arguing a call late in the first half. The Knights were trailing 2-1 at the time. But with 10 minutes left in the game, the referees gave Ryken a penalty kick for a hand ball in the penalty area. Senior forward Jeff Brooks, who moved to midfield after the red card, converted the kick to tie the game at 2.
Though Thomas Stone (2-0, 1-0) shared the Maryland 3A title with Linganore last season, it lost to Ryken, 2-1, in the regular season. Ryken, which is not eligible for the state playoffs because it is a private school, also beat defending Maryland 4A champion Chesapeake earlier this season.
"We think we have a really good team," Ryken Coach Pat Warring said. "I am afraid our kids are going to hang their heads a little about this loss, but we were right with [Stone] even after we lost our player. Overall, it was an excellent game."
Stone took a 2-0 lead in the first half on goals from Brian Moroz and Brian MacFarlane. Brooks scored for Ryken late in the first half to make the score 2-1 at halftime.
The second half belonged to the goalkeepers. Ryken's Daniel Sidorowicz made three of his five saves in the half and Stone's Ryan Tomosko had five of his eight saves then, too.
While Emrick encouraged his team to take shots on Sidorowicz from anywhere, it was not until Bonney's goal that the Cougars had any success.
"Their goalie played really well," Moroz said. "We were shooting a lot of outside shots on him, and he was handling them well. We have a lot of hard work to do to win another state title, but we are all looking forward to trying to get there."
Thomas Stone (2-0, 2-0)
1--3St. Mary's Ryken (3-1, 0-1)
0--2 Goals--TS: Moroz, MacFarlane, Bonney. SMR: Brooks 2.
Assists--TS: Provenzano 2.
Shots--Thomas Stone 9, St. Mary's Ryken 10.
Saves--TS: Tomosko 8; SMR: Sidorowicz 6.
CAPTION: Jeff Brooks, left, of St. Mary's Ryken tries to push the ball past Thomas Stone's Shawn Moses during Tuesday's game.