Northwestern advances to Maryland boys’ soccer tournament for first time since 1995
By Eric Detweiler,
Held aloft by teammates and fans in the moments after Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Eleanor Roosevelt in the Maryland 4A South boys’ soccer final, Northwestern senior Sammy Khasai laughed, chanted and pointed, basking in the chaotic scene.
Senior Christian Romero made the celebration possible with a 29th minute goal, and the Wildcats held off the Raiders at Prince George’s Community College to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1995.
“We need to represent our school,” Romero said. “We’re showing it now what we can do. … From [the start of] conditioning, we knew we had it in us.”
Northwestern (13-2) won the teams’ regular season meeting, 6-2, and threatened on offense throughout on Tuesday. But Romero’s tally proved the only breakthrough against Eleanor Roosevelt, which upset defending state champ Bowie earlier in the tournament.
On the scoring play, sophomore Ngeh Mbah received the ball on the right side just beyond the 6-yard box in traffic and managed to get his toe on the ball while falling down. Romero collected it and ripped a shot from close range.
Thanks to several missed opportunities around the net by the Wildcats in the second half, Eleanor Roosevelt (12-6) had a chance to tie in the final seconds. A Raider directed a free kick toward the net, but junior goalie Olvin Danery rushed out to fall on it and preserve the victory.
“I wanted us to keep pressuring and attacking because I was sure that we needed two goals,” Coach Nigel Trim said. “I guess one was enough.”
Later, senior Nicole Hill and sophomore Anna Huddelston had two goals apiece as Bowie cruised past C.H. Flowers , 5-0, in the girls’ 4A South final. The Bulldogs advanced to their fourth state tournament in five seasons where they will play 4A East champ South River on Saturday at Richard Montgomery.
Bowie (14-1) fell to Eleanor Roosevelt in last season’s region final, but this time, Huddelston gave the team the lead in the third minute with a right-footed blast just outside the 18-yard box.
The Bulldogs built the advantage from there with senior Lexi D’Orsaneo, the team’s leading scorer, adding a goal and an assist. Playing in its first region final, top-seeded C.H. Flowers (12-2) managed just one shot on goal.
“Last year was a downfall, but we showed we can pick it right back up,” Hill said. “We’re doing so well right now. We’re so prepared. We’re so ready.”
Elsewhere, South River earned its spot in the state tournament with a thrilling 3-2 double-overtime victory at Arundel. Junior Madison Koenig buried a penalty kick into the lower right side of the net to end the game three minutes 11 seconds into the second extra period. Junior Kacie Longo scored twice for the Seahawks, including the goal that sent it into overtime with 40 seconds left in regulation.
The Calvert girls’ team came from behind to beat Southern, 2-1, in the Maryland 2A South final and advance to the state tournament for the first time in 10 years. The Cavaliers (12-1-2) will play Fallston in the next round.
On the boys’ side, Patuxent won it second consecutive 2A South regional title, beating Gwynn Park, 5-0, thanks to two Jake Hayden goals. Eric Elder added a goal for Patuxent, which has outscored its past three opponents by a combined 18-1.
Amir Najib scored two second half goals to rally Marriotts Ridge past Oakland Mills in the 2A North regional final. It was the fifth consecutive regional title for Marriotts Ridge (14-0), and the fifth goal in two games for Najib.
Huntingtown (11-3) scored two goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation to beat Northern, 2-1, for the 3A South regional title, and Severna Park won its third consecutive 4A East title with a 3-0 win over Old Mill. Daniel Kwom, Kyle Albach and Tim Nelson each scored goals for Severna Park (17-0), which has shutout each of its last nine opponents.