Bethesda-Chevy Chase celebrated its senior night at Wootton and played a home playoff game at Whitman. Due to construction on their field over the past two seasons, the Barons practiced at Walter Johnson or a neighborhood park and played every game away from East-West Highway.
A new home stadium is expected to be ready for action by next school year. On Saturday night, Bethesda-Chevy Chase will hit the road one more time for the Maryland 4A boys’ soccer state final at Loyola University in Baltimore. Against undefeated Severna Park, the Barons will look to pull off their fifth straight upset of a higher seed thanks to chemistry forged by two seasons of commuting across Montgomery County.
“Literally we just spend more time together as a team because of the logistical situation of our season. And figuratively taking on a little extra adversity has brought us closer together,” senior captain Hale Lieberman said. “I think we’re better off from the experience. It hasn’t been normal, but we learned to deal with it.”
As the No. 3 seed in Maryland 4A West Section I, the Barons beat No. 6 seed Kennedy at Whitman before upsetting higher seeds Whitman, Churchill, Gaithersburg and Sherwood on their way to the state championship. While its first four wins of the playoffs were multi-goal shutouts, Bethesda-Chevy Chase won the state semifinal over Sherwood, 1-0. Saturday at Wise, senior Eli Sturm scored on a free-kick goal with 26 minutes to play before junior goalkeeper Bennett Schwartz saved a penalty shot in the final minute.
Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Loyola, the Barons face No. 1 Severna Park, who also plays its home games at a local park due to construction on its home field. The Falcons have outscored their opponents 13-1 in their four playoff wins and have allowed nine goals in 19 matches this season. Still, surviving a tough schedule in Montgomery County gives the Barons belief they can finish their improbable playoff run.
“We’re definitely not too overconfident. Our entire playoff run we’ve been underdogs and going into games knowing that it’s going to be tough for us to advance,” Lieberman said. “Watching Severna Park and seeing who they’ve played we can compare them to teams like Churchill and Whitman and know that we can play with them.
Magruder (2007, 2010), Whitman (2009, 2014), Wootton (2012) and Walter Johnson (2016) have combined to bring six of the past 10 Maryland 4A boys’ soccer state titles back to Montgomery County. Severna Park (2013), Bowie (2008, 2011) and Baltimore County’s Perry Hall (2015) have also won a 4A state championship during that span.
The Top 10
1. Severna Park (18-0-1) Last ranked: 1
Senior midfielder Drew Belloff, who scored a hat trick in a 4-0 win over Leonardtown in the Maryland 4A East region final, has 21 goals on the season. The Falcons are one game away from their first state championship since 2013.
2. Landon (15-2-2) LR: 4
With the Interstate Athletic Conference championship and a 4-0 win over Gonzaga on Sept. 7, the Bears finish the season as the area’s top-ranked private school.
3. Gonzaga (17-6-3) LR: 5
After an overtime win over DeMatha in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final, the Eagles won their second District of Columbia State Athletic Association title in penalty kicks over St. Albans on Saturday night.
4. River Hill (15-1-2) LR: 6
The Hawks face Baltimore County’s Eastern Tech on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at Loyola University in the Maryland 2A state final.
5. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (13-3-3) LR: 7
The Barons opened up the season with five straight wins before posting a 3-3-3 record over their next nine games. After another five-game winning streak, Bethesda-Chevy Chase is in its first state final since it won the Maryland 3A title in 2007.
6. Wilson (16-1-1) LR: 2
The Tigers’ undefeated season came to an end with a 3-1 loss to Gonzaga in the DCSAA semifinals on Thursday.
7. Meade (14-3) LW: 9
Junior Silas Baker scored 11 goals and dished out 12 assists this season.
8. Sherwood (12-2-1) LW: 8
On Wednesday, Diego Ramirez and Loic Ngnatho scored for the Warriors in a 2-0 win over Howard in the Maryland 4A North region final. On Saturday, Sherwood lost to Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 1-0, in a state semifinal.
9. Whitman (11-2-2) LW: NR
The Vikings lost to New Jersey private school St. Benedicts in September and Bethesda-Chevy Chase on Halloween in the second round of the playoffs.
10. Bowie (15-4) LW: NR
The Prince George’s County champion Bulldogs beat Laurel, 3-1, in the Maryland 4A South final before losing to Severna Park, 2-0, in a state semifinal.
All records through Monday