For the third time in the last seven seasons, the Fallston and Aberdeen boys soccer teams met each other to play for the UCBAC championship game and, as in the previous two meetings, Fallston came out with a shutout victory, this time taking down Aberdeen, 3-0, Tuesday night at Bel Air High's stadium.
Fallston earned its spot in the title game by winning the Chesapeake (upper) Division, in which the Cougars racked up a 4-0-2 mark. Aberdeen grabbed the Susquehanna (lower) Division crown, with the Eagles posting a perfect 7-0 record against lower-division opponents.
The first 15 minutes of the opening half at Tuesday's title matchup offered little in the way of offense, with neither side putting together a quality scoring opportunity.
Fallston broke through at the 23-minute mark, getting off a shot on the Aberdeen goal, but the attempt was saved by Eagles keeper Owen Smith.
A few minutes later Aberdeen was awarded a corner kick, which was sent into the Fallston penalty box by the Eagles' Duane Keller, but the Cougars were able to clear the ball before Aberdeen could get off a shot.
The Cougars broke the scoreless tie with just under 10 minutes remaining before half time, as Jordan Puglisi sent a shot past Smith to put Fallston up, 1-0.
Aberdeen's best scoring opportunity of the first half came when Danny Geary sent a seam pass into the Cougars' 18-yard box, but before an Eagle forward could get a foot on it the Fallston defense was able to clear the ball.
At the halftime whistle, the score was still 1-0 in Fallston's favor.
After a back-and-forth battle for the first 27 minutes of the second half, during which Fallston have a goal called back because of an offsides flag, the Cougars struck again, with Chris Grant finding the Aberdeen net to give Fallston a 2-0 edge.
Fallston iced the game with just under five minutes remaining, as Puglisi scored his second goal of the contest at the 4:47 mark.
Tuesday's loss left the Eagles without a score to show in their three championship tilts with the Cougars. In the two previous games, Fallston defeated Aberdeen, 3-0, at Harford Tech in 2009, while the 2007 championship saw Fallston take a 1-0 victory on a muddy field at Edgewood High School, a game that was shortened because of foul weather.
John Carroll over Mt. St. Joe's
The John Carroll Patriots took a hard-earned victory on Wednesday night, as they held on to a one-goal lead through the final whistle to defeat host Mt. St. Joseph's.
With the win, which might have playoff implications for the Patriots, John Carroll improved to 9-9-2 overall, and 5-8-1 in MIAA play.
After playing a scoreless first half, the Patriots struck for the game's only goal in the second half, as Ryan Baldauf tucked away a shot on Guillermo Alimrall's corner kick.
Patriot goalie Brenden Hutton, in his first shutout of the season, recorded two saves.
Regional tournament draws
The tournament draws for the MPSSAA regional competitions are in, and Harford County's boys soccer squads are gearing up for post-season play.
In the 3A North Section II tournament, third-seeded Bel Air was scheduled to play a 7 p.m. game with visiting sixth seed Edgewood on Thursday. Second-seeded C. Milton Wright was slated to host seventh-seeded North Harford on Friday at 3 p.m., and top-seeded Aberdeen, by earning a first-round bye, will not play until the second round on Tuesday, when the Eagles take on the winner of a game between fourth-seeded Dundalk and fifth-seeded Patapsco. That game will be played at Aberdeen.
The 2A East Section I bracket has Fallston as the top seed, and the Cougars, who earned a first-round bye, will wait until Tuesday to host the winner of fifth-seeded Harford Tech's 5 p.m. Friday road game with fourth-seeded Elkton. Second-seeded Patterson Mill will bypass the first round, and is set to host a Tuesday game with either third-seeded Rising Sun or sixth-seeded North East.
Top-seeded Havre de Grace and third-seeded Joppatowne both earned first-round byes in the 1A South Section I bracket, and will play in the second round on Tuesday. Havre de Grace is scheduled to host fourth-seeded Bo Manor at 6 p.m., and Joppatowne will travel to play second-seeded Perryville for a 5 p.m. game.