Glenelg Country fell in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference championship game for the third straight year Sunday afternoon at Siegert Field at Anne Arundel Community College.
Mt. Carmel junior Jaime Reyes ripped a shot into the top-right corner with 1 minute, 3 seconds left in the first overtime to give the Cougars a 1-0 victory and their first MIAA championship in 17 years.
“We broke them down in the box, didn’t get a shot off and we were screaming and the ball trickled back out and Jamie took a touch and it was an exact replica of our semifinal goal on Thursday against Indian Creek,” Mt. Carmel coach Mark Concordia said. “It was a long time coming. The boys have been working hard all year and it worked out. The ball rolled the right way.”
The Dragons, who beat Pallotti, 5-1, in their semifinal, were looking for their first conference title since 2004. They beat the Cougars (16-2), 1-0, on Oct. 7 but couldn’t find the back of the net for the first time all season and finish the year with a 13-3 record.
“It was a great shot, not much else to say about it. He put it away and we didn’t step up and pressure him and we gave him too much time and he put it in the back of the net,” Glenelg Country coach Ryan Hellem said. “It was disappointing to lose the game but I’m proud of the accomplishments of these boys. They have nothing to hang their heads about. It was one game and it doesn’t define us or our season.”
The Dragons entered the game averaging more than 3.5 goals per game but struggled in the final third of the field against the Cougars. They managed just two shots in the first half and seven total and had only one corner kick opportunity.
Their best shot at goal came with about 15 minutes left on a cross by senior Parker Holbrook into the box. But freshman Cole Fisher sailed his shot in front of goal high. Nine minutes later, sophomore Matt Palmisano’s shot inside the box was stopped by Mt. Carmel goalie Austin Heid (seven saves).
Neither team had many opportunities in the extra session until Reyes corralled the loose ball near the top of the box and placed his shot perfectly past the hands of Glenelg Country sophomore goalie Jeb Pappas (seven saves).
“It was euphoria,” Concordia said. “As an alum, my assistant coach is an alum, we didn’t win championships. There was a 17-year drought. The ball going in ended that drought. On campus we call it the dark ages of not winning championships because that’s what we’re used to. To do that was incredible.”
Glenelg Country lost to Concordia Prep, 2-1, in double overtime in the championship game last fall and fell to Indian Creek, 1-0, in the 2015 title game. But despite the lack of success in the final game for the third consecutive season, Hellem said it was a great season overall.
“They worked hard from the very beginning, improved every day and improved from last year,” he said. “Hats off to Mt. Carmel, who played a great game. We just didn’t have that finishing in the final third.
“The future is always bright. As disappointing as this loss is, especially for Parker, our only senior, I know the guys feel bad for him but he’s accomplished so much being a part of this team and bringing us to where we’ve been. He has nothing to hang his head about.”