The Churchill boys soccer team has won with defense all season. Last night, it threw a little luck in the mix.
Junior forward Jon Mayo scored a fluke goal in the 56th minute that proved to be the game-winner as sixth-ranked Churchill defeated seventh-ranked Magruder, 2-1, in the Maryland 4A West Region final in Derwood. The Bulldogs will play 4A East champion Severna Park at 5 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals at a site to be determined (Arundel or Magruder).
With Churchill (13-2-1) ahead 1-0, Mayo launched a ball high in the air toward the goal from 27 yards out on the left wing. Magruder (15-2-1) goalkeeper Paul Lubao misjudged the ball, which glanced off the bottom of the crossbar as it came down and landed in the net to make it 2-0.
"I was trying to cross it, and after I hit it I turned around and was like, 'Awww,' " Mayo said. "But it dipped down and went in. I was ecstatic. It was pretty lucky."
Junior Rory Page brought the Colonels within 2-1 five minutes later. But the Churchill defense, which has allowed just seven goals this season, bottled up Magruder's attack, which has scored 64, over the final 19 minutes.
Churchill opened the scoring in the 51st minute, thanks to a heads-up play by senior midfielder Jon Hecht. After being fouled, Hecht played a quick restart between two defenders to forward Mark Bennett, who drilled a shot to the far post.
In the 4A West girls final earlier in the evening, freshman forward Aryn Epstein put in a cross from junior forward Laney Rosin in the 57th minute to lift defending 4A state champion Wootton to a 2-1 victory over Quince Orchard. Sixth-ranked Wootton (14-3) will face 4A East Region champion Westminster in the state semifinals at 5 p.m. Saturday at Severna Park.
Despite the victory, Wootton Coach Terri Beach was displeased with her team, which defeated the Cougars (7-7-1) by scores of 4-0 and 5-0 in the regular season.
"This was our worst performance of the entire year," Beach said. "I don't know what the problem was. Maybe we were overlooking them. There's no excuse for this. The game was not a Wootton style game. We did not play the way we've played all year."
In last night's Maryland 3A South Region boys final, Brian MacFarlane's header off a corner kick with seven minutes remaining gave 10th-ranked Thomas Stone a 2-1 victory over host Leonardtown (12-5).
Ronnie Provenzano took the corner from the right side, and MacFarlane leaped above two Raiders defenders to head the ball into the top left corner. Thomas Stone (16-2) will play Fallston in the state semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at a site to be determined. Thomas Stone is the defending state 3A champion.