Springbrook opened its boys soccer season yesterday against Wootton with two considerations: To upset the seventh-ranked Patriots, the 17th-ranked Blue Devils needed to shut down midfielder Stefan Triandafilou, and they needed senior midfielder Ben Astorga to take control of the offense.
The Blue Devils accomplished both as junior fullback Matt Gannon did a marvelous defensive job on Triandafilou and Astorga, on a perfect cross from junior Nick Jovanovic, scored 2:10 into sudden death for a 2-1 victory in the Montgomery County 4A game at Martin Luther King Field.
"This is a big win for us because we don't have that much experience," said Springbrook Coach Ian Bain. "So hopefully this will let our players know that we can be competitive."
Wootton took control in sudden death and had the ball deep in Springbrook territory. But Patriots senior fullback Joshua Osher failed to clear the ball. Springbrook junior forward John Mondy stole Osher's weak pass and immediately fed Jovanovic, who glided down the right wing on a breakaway. When Wootton sophomore goalkeeper Eric Laurence committed himself out of the box, Jovanovic crossed to Astorga, who tapped in the game-winner.
The Blue Devils began tentatively and were outshot in the first half, 10-2. But senior David Pan kept them in the contest with some solid saves, including a point-blank stop on a bullet by senior forward Ted Sherburne. While Pan wasn't flashy, he seemed to be in the right place at the right time, finishing with seven saves.
Springbrook settled down in the second half and took a 1-0 lead as Ian Mason controlled a corner kick from Andre Gary and scored to beat Laurence inside the left post at 48:00. Wootton tied the game 1:53 later as Lee Epstein delivered on a penalty kick.
Although Springbrook appeared to control the midfield in the second half, it was still outshot, 6-3, in the period. The Blue Devils also hurt their offensive chances as they were called for 11 offsides, seven in the second half.
"We've got a pretty young team so it took us a while to get relaxed," said Astorga. "But once we did, we began to play our style of soccer. And we knew if we clamped down on Triandafilou we could control the flow of their attack."