After surviving the tough Class 3A East region with an opening win on penalty kicks and the next two victories by a goal each, the Reservoir boys soccer team enjoyed a more comfortable triumph in Saturday’s state semifinal against Huntingtown.
The Gators fell behind after an early goal, but scored five unanswered goals for a 5-1 win at CCBC-Essex, sending them to next week’s state title game. In search of the program’s second state championship – the first coming in 2010 – Reservoir (12-6) will meet the North Harford-Urbana winner at UMBC. The state title games are set to run from Thursday through Saturday with exact dates and times yet to be determined.
Senior midfielder Javier Wardcantrori led the Gators’ dominating attack with two goals, with the other scores coming from Nick Jobst, Gibril Sheriff and John Lopes.
Wardcantrori said the team’s confidence has been steadily climbing with each postseason win. The Gators overwhelmed the Hurricanes from Calvert County with precise passing and quality finishes to come away an easy winner.
“It was a big field, so we thought we had to possess a lot and me and Emilio [Rodas], we kept the ball really well and it just all came together – we were finishing well today, had the solid defense and now it’s on to UMBC,” Wardcantrori said. Huntingtown opened the scoring in the 14th minute when senior Perry Burgess neatly placed a shot from 14 yards to the lower right corner, but it was the Gators who took control later in the half, putting together two well-executed goals to take a 2-1 lead at intermission.
With just under 14 minutes left, senior Lopes sent a cross from the left to the far post. Mike Peprah headed it back to the middle for Jobst to tap into the open net.
The same play worked with 7:43 to play – this time, Sheriff delivered the long cross for Arien Motaher to head to the middle for Wardcantrori to finish for a 2-1 halftime lead.
Sheriff made sure there would be no late drama with a goal three minutes into the second half to make it 3-1 before Wardcantrori added his second of the game with 25 minutes remaining.
After going 8-6 in the regular season, the Gators have found their stride in the postseason. Reservoir edged Mount Hebron on penalty kicks in the regional quarterfinals, then blanked Centennial, 1-0, and edged River Hilll, 2-1, to capture the 3A East region.
“We’ve really had a tough playoff run, probably three of the hardest teams in Mt. Hebron, Centennial and River Hill and nobody thought we could pull it out. But we kept fighting and knew we could do it the whole time,” Wardcantrori said.
Reservoir 5, Huntingtown 1
Goals: R – Jobst, Wardcantrori 2, Sheriff, Lopes; H – Burgess.
Assists: R – Peprah, A. Motaher, Rodas.
Saves: R – Linares 4; H – Richardson 7.
Half: 2-1 R.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun