St. Mary's Ryken boys soccer coach Pat Warring was surprised by his team's reaction following the Knights' 3-2 victory in sudden-death overtime at McDonough on Tuesday night. He was surprised his players were not disappointed.
The Knights were happy to win, of course, but Warring said part of the reason for the team's excitement afterward was because, for once, the Knights know they will still be playing once the regular season ends.
That is because St. Mary's Ryken has organized the first Maryland State Independent Soccer Championships, which will feature eight-team boys and girls tournaments for private schools such as St. Mary's Ryken that are ineligible for the Maryland state playoffs. The tournament will be held Oct. 29-30 at St. Mary's College.
Ryken clinched its victory Tuesday after Ryken senior Jeff Brooks converted Joe Parker's pass on a breakaway midway through the first overtime period.
"I am used to seeing our guys walk off the field late in the season--even after a win--and hang their heads a little bit," Warring said. "And even if the other team lost, [the opposing players] were not that disappointed. Because our kids knew no matter the result, it would not help us get into the playoffs and no matter if the other team lost, they were still in the state playoffs."
The Knights (11-1, 8-1 in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) seem excited about playing teams such as Riverdale Baptist (9-3-2), Bishop Walsh of Cumberland (14-1) and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference's McNamara.
"We have never had anything to shoot for after the regular season ended," senior Tommy Clagett said. "I know they came close to finding us a tournament at the end of the past two seasons. But we are all excited to play in this one and show people what we have."
After a scoreless first half, McDonough (7-3, 6-3 SMAC) took a 2-0 lead on senior Kevin Padgett's goals. Padgett leads the team with 13 goals and seven assists.
Padgett's first goal came after a scramble in the goal mouth. His second came on a volley into the top corner of the goal.
But after the second goal, the Knights changed their formation, adding a third forward. The move worked, as Clagett and then Pat Warring--the coach's son--scored to tie the game at 2 with nine minutes left in regulation.
"We owed them because we lost to them last year," the younger Warring said. "I thought everyone on the team did a real good job tonight. But we are also looking forward to the tournament. We want to end the season with some wins there."
McDONOUGH GIRLS 4, ST. MARY'S RYKEN 3: Junior forward Julia Lufriu scored her 24th goal of the season with 12 minutes left to lift the Rams over the host Knights on Tuesday.
McDonough (8-4, 7-2 SMAC) now has a firm grasp on third place in the conference; the Knights are just behind at 9-3-1, 7-2-1.
McDonough took an early 3-0 lead on goals by seniors Courtney Johnson, Jackie Curry and Amy McCarter before Knights junior forward Suzanne Arata scored a natural hat trick to tie the game at 3 early in the second half.
"It kept me on the edge of my seat," McDonough Coach Jerry Curry said. "They never make it easy for me."
CAPTION: St. Mary's Ryken's Dabren Wills sprints toward McDonough's goal Tuesday night as Ram defenders Pat McDevitt, left, and John Mark Bryant pursue him.