In a Howard County boys soccer season that has so far been filled with tight contests and huge swings of momentum, Mt. Hebron was able to pull away Thursday evening for a slightly more comfortable victory.
Kick started by a goal in the latter stages before halftime, the Vikings built a three-goal lead by the midway point of the second half and cruised the rest of the way to a 3-1 victory over visiting Oakland Mills. It marks the third straight county victory for Mt. Hebron (3-1, 5-1) since suffering a loss against Reservoir in the team’s county opener.
“What I’ll say is that every game we’re improving and that’s all you can ask for,” Mt. Hebron coach Mike Linsenmeyer said. “Oakland Mills played well today and really frustrated us at times, so I thought this was a good test for us and we responded well. We showed perseverance today.
“We’ve gotten better since Reservoir, but there’s still a lot of room to improve.”
Oakland Mills (2-2, 3-4) used some strong defense to keep the Vikings at bay in the early stages of the game. Mt. Hebron was controlling possession, though, and that is what ultimately led to the team’s first goal.
In the 28th minute, Alex Simak launched a long throw into the box and, after the ball was initially cleared, he swooped back in to play a looping ball on net. Oakland Mills’ goalie Toby Baldwin got his hands on the ball, but Michael Yacynych was there waiting to clean things up and make it 1-0 in favor of Mt. Hebron.
“Sticking to our game plan, we wanted to jam the ball down their throat and win the first and second ball,” Mt. Hebron junior Trevor Namie said. “So we wanted to follow up all the shots and any chances that we could get and it happened for us. It brought in a lot of big momentum coming into the second half.”
The momentum did indeed carry over, as Mt. Hebron kept pressuring and eventually pushed its lead to two goals with 23 minutes left in regulation. Jacob Parrott’s long ball played toward the box glanced off an Oakland Mills player’s head and into the goal.
A few minutes later, Namie appeared poised to make it a three-goal game but missed on a chance into a wide-open goal. Instead of dropping his head, however, he collected himself and finished a chance just two minutes later to make it 3-0.
“It was really embarrassing … I made a great move in, I just choked under pressure. But my teammates came over to me and told me that I could always get the next one,” Namie said. “It motivated me to just push myself even harder and I got back in it and I scored.”
Oakland Mills kept pushing until the final whistle and was rewarded with a great individual goal by Sam Onumah with 27 seconds left.
Mt. Hebron will be back in action against Atholton on the road Tuesday, while Oakland Mills will play River Hill at home the same day.
Glenelg 2, Wilde Lake 1 2OT
Charlie Mavronis converted the game-winning goal in double overtime, lifting the Gladiators (3-1, 3-3) to their second straight victory. Michael Farace provided the goal during regulation for Glenelg. Wilde Lake (2-2, 4-2-1) has now lost two straight contests in overtime.
Centennial 3, Atholton 0
The Eagles bounced back after losing to River Hill earlier in the week, earning the shutout against the Raiders.
Matt Merkey kicked off the scoring for Centennial (3-1, 5-2) 17 minutes in by finishing a shot off a rebound. Then, with 12 minutes left in the opening half, Nick Haskins upped the lead to 2-0 off a feed from Ammar Narmouq.
Narmouq then got into the scoring act himself with just three minutes left in regulation to create the final margin. Noah Taylor provided the assist on the final goal.
Rohit Vepa made five saves for Centennial at goalie to help secure the shutout.
Marriotts Ridge 2, Reservoir 1
The Mustangs won their second straight county game, edging the Gators by a goal. Chase Crable and Sahil Raina each scored in the victory.
River Hill 0, Long Reach 0