Old Mill senior defender Derek Harris loves when the Patriots are awarded a free kick. He usually spends most of the game in the back, marking one of the opponent's best strikers. But because he is a big target at 6 feet 6, he gets to play offense on restarts.
Harris made the most of an offensive turn last night and helped No. 10 Old Mill to a 1-0 overtime victory over No. 4 Severna Park in a rematch of last season's Anne Arundel County boys' soccer title game.
In the second minute of sudden-death overtime, Harris positioned himself beneath a free kick and flicked a bouncing header toward the far post from 15 yards. Senior midfielder Andrew Engel ran down the ball at the goal line and deflected it into the net.
"It's a big game," Harris said. "There's been some words going back and forth, people saying they're the team to beat or we're the team to beat. We showed tonight that we're the team to beat."
In the girls' game that followed, No. 4 Severna Park beat Old Mill, 4-0. First-half goals by Stephanie Strycula, Katie Cloud and Samantha Ferrell gave the Falcons a commanding lead, and they never looked back.
In the boys' game, Severna Park (3-3, 2-1) outshot the defending county champion Patriots 13-5, but couldn't give Old Mill goalkeeper Shawn Fernholz a strenuous test. While waiting for the goal that never came, the Falcons were strong in the back and marked Engel well. The Patriots (5-0, 3-0), however, were not discouraged on offense and broke through in overtime.
"We just keep on applying pressure no matter how hard they play defense," Engel said. "They were doubling down on me and Derek. We kept applying pressure and they got tired and we wore them out."
Severna Park goalkeeper Kyle Quigley injured his right knee in the 23rd minute when he landed awkwardly after leaping to snare a crossing pass. He left the game but re-entered in the 53rd minute. Despite a limp, Quigley was effective after he returned and said that the injury was not a factor in the deciding goal.
"It's just poor positioning on my part," Quigley said. "That's not my leg, it's just not thinking through the situation."
Patriots Coach Jeff Martin lamented Old Mill's inability to convert several bouncing balls inside the penalty area and six-yard box. He was glad, however, that Engel got to the one in overtime.
"That was a great hustle play on Derek and Engel's part right there," Martin said. "These guys condition very hard. They were able to step it up and overtime and get the win."