CMW girls, Bel Air boys win UCBAC soccer titles

The C. Milton Wright girls and Bel Air boys soccer teams won Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference championships Tuesday night at Bel Air High School.

Bel Air opened the double-header with a 4-0 shutout of Perryville, while CMW followed with a 3-0 blanking of Edgewood.

The Bel Air Bobcats captured their second UCBAC boys soccer crown in the last three seasons.

For the Bobcats, who finished their regular season with a perfect 6-0 record in Chesapeake (upper) Division play, Tuesday's win earned them their second conference crown; their first was during the 2010 season.

Bel Air head coach Dominic Rose, who has headed the Bobcats for the last 13 seasons and guided them to a 3A state final appearance in 2007, said his team had its sights set on an UCBAC title from the beginning of the season.

"That's what we worked for, and it was one of the guys' first goals of the season," said Rose. "We've got more to do though. The playoffs start Thursday."

Perryville, which won its first ever Susquehanna (lower) title with a 6-1 divisional record, came out of the gates quickly in Tuesday's matchup, applying pressure and keeping the ball in Bel Air's half for much of the first 10 minutes. The Bobcats were not phased, however, and began to turn the contest around when Logan Szekalski scored Bel Air's first goal with an assist from Kyle Warner.

"We tend to want to see what the other team is going to do first, so we are kind of patient," Rose said. "We sit back and see how they are going to attack us. Tonight, once we saw their pressure and how they were going to come at us, our guys had to respond, at that's what you saw after the first 10 minutes."

In the match's 23rd minute, after streaking into the Perryville penalty area on a breakaway, Bel Air's Austin McKinney tucked away a 10-yard shot.

At the halftime whistle, Bel Air was still up, 2-0.

For the first 21 minutes of the second half, the Bobcats fired six shots on goal, but they were stopped by Perryville keeper Dustin Krahn.

With just over 18 minutes left in regulation, Bel Air got its third goal when Nat Hand scored after collecting a well-placed cross from teammate Carson Kalama.

The game's final tally came in the 75th minute, with Szekalski tucking away his second goal of the evening to put the Bobcats up, 4-0.

Bel Air has little time to rest, as the Bobcats kick off the 3A North regional tournament Thursday with a home contest against the C. Milton Wright Mustangs.

"We drew C.M. Wright in the first round," Rose said. "We know each other and we're rivals. You can go ahead and throw any script out on that game, because it's just going to be two teams going at it, and it's going to be emotional. They're a great team no matter what their record is."

Fourth straight for CMW

In the CMW girls win, their fourth straight UCBAC title and seventh overall, it took the Chesapeake Division Mustangs (12-1-1) a while to get going as Edgewood (10-3), winners of the Susquehanna, proved to be a worthy opponent, especially early on.

"They're a good team," Mustangs head coach Paul Austin said. "We couldn't seem to get our rhythm the first 20 minutes."

CMW finally got on the scoreboard with 16:16 left to play in the first half. Haley Alexander, a sophomore defender, found herself with the ball some 15 yards out front of the goal.

Alexander made a couple small moves, clearing herself enough to get a shot past Edgewood keeper Nasia Denegal, who had been steady to that point.

"Well, usually it's from like the top, but today we had more opportunities from the back I guess," Alexander said after the game. The goal was her first of the season.

It was another defender, senior captain Kelsey Targarona, who gave the Mustangs their second goal of the half a little less than six minutes later. A corner kick, that was not cleared, bounced off a few players before Targarona drilled a low shot into the left side of the goal past a lunging Denegal with 10:49 left in the half.

"The Haley goal was all effort, after that we got rolling," Austin said. "I'm happy with it, we came out of here injury free. To win for the fourth time, the last four years in a row, that's a big accomplishment."

The Mustangs third and final goal came 10 or so minutes into the second half and it was probably the purest of the three.

Sophomore midfielder Julia O'Mara took a ball down the right side, stopped and scooted it across the middle to senior forward Megan Frailer. Frailer, who came in as the Mustangs leading scorer with 14 goals and two assists, notched number 15 with a high shot into the top of the goal.

"A lot of teams have been packing it in the back," Frailer said. "We're working to get it out wide first and then cross it into the middle and that's what we did on my goal."

The Mustangs outshot the Rams, 19-5, but a few of the Edgewood shots were testy. A few other potential opportunities by the Rams were turned away by the Mustangs defense. The center of that defense is senior captain Abby Smucker.

"Edgewood had a lot of speed up top and we knew that coming into the game we would have to stay tight on our marks," Smucker said.

Smucker and others turned away a handful of Ram pushes in front of goalie Stacy Venanzi, who finished with three saves.

Edgewood goalie Denegal made seven saves.

For Edgewood, Tuesday's appearance in the title game was a first.

"We've definitely grown in the past few years," Rams head coach Mike Friskey said. "We have much more skill than we have had in the past."

Friskey noted speed and depth as the real difference makers in the game.

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