Oakland Mills christened its new turf field with a pair of victories Saturday in its own Scorpion Invitational, defeating La Plata, 3-0, and Paint Branch, 4-1.
Between the two games, the Scorpions never trailed and got goals from five different guys. More importantly in the eyes of coach Don Shea, Oakland Mills managed to get game experience for its entire roster of over 30 players.
“Today served its purpose,” Shea said. “We played 32 kids, which really should help us as we build the depth for Howard County later on. We have a lot of options and we keep coming at you.”
Paint Branch, which had defeated Loch Raven, 5-0, in its opening game of the day, saw the relentlessness of the Oakland Mills attack first hand. The Scorpions got on the board first in the sixth minute, with Andrew Vincent converting a penalty kick, and then pushed their lead to two with seven minutes left before halftime when Hymad N’diaye finished a ball that was deflected to him by Eli Phillips.
Then, after Paint Branch trimmed the lead to one in the final minute of the first half, Oakland Mills’ John Caldwell headed home a corner kick by Vincent 15 minutes out of halftime to increase the lead once again.
“Whenever you see us score you’ll hear us yell ‘45,’ basically as a reminder to ourselves to calm down and get back to the game,” Caldwell said. “We have our 45 seconds of celebration and then it’s time to go out and do it again.”
With just over five minutes to go, sophomore Javier Avetrani added a little extra icing on the cake by converting a free kick from outside the box into the right side of the net.
Earlier in the day, against La Plata, Avetrani and Caldwell had also each scored goals during the Scorpions’ shutout victory. Caldwell finished a rebound off a shot from Hans Kouame to make it 1-0 in the opening three minutes. Then, shortly after that in the first half, Avetrani finished off a feed from N’diaye.
Ovidio Pereira accounted for the team’s other goal, also in the first half, off an assist from Vincent.
Momentum in hand, Oakland Mills now turns its attention to its county opener on Tuesday against Long Reach.
“It feels great to get a couple (wins) to start. We did it last year and now we’ve done it again this year,” Caldwell said. “It feels like we’re headed somewhere and I think we’re all just excited to keep going.”
Oakland Mills 4, Paint Branch 1
Goals: OM – Vincent, N’diaye, Caldwell, Avetrani; PB – N/A.
Assists: OM – Phillips, Vincent.
Saves: OM – Zovko 3, Rheingans-Yoo 2; PB – N/A.
Half: 2-1 OM.
Oakland Mills 3, La Plata 0
Goals: OM – Caldwell, Avetrani, Pereira.
Assists: OM – N’diaye, Kouame, Vincent.
Saves: OM – Rheingans-Yoo 6, Zovko 2.