Wilde Lake junior Colin Tiffey scored five goals, including two during the decisive fourth quarter, as the Wildecats picked up their first county win of the season Friday against Oakland Mills, 9-5.
After struggling with its consistency offensively much of the evening, Wilde Lake (1-4, 2-4) scored three times over the final five minutes of the game to seal the victory.
"Mentally we came together and started taking our time," Tiffey said. "We saw that with patience we could put it away. We believed in ourselves and believed in each other and I thought that was the difference."
In the loss, Oakland Mills (0-5, 1-7) was led by Shadrack Mawolo (2 goals, assist) on offense and goalie Vincent Dudek (11 saves) on defense. Wilde Lake got eight saves from its goalie Jeremy Kass and some solid offensive production from Siyon Lowe (2 goals, 2 assists) alongside Tiffey.
That first county victory for the Wildecats certainly didn't come easy, though.
Oakland Mills was actually in control for much of the first half after scoring the game's first two goals courtesy of David Brunno and Mawolo. The Scorpions were winning the ground ball battle and controlling time of possession.
"We definitely had the intensity and effort we were looking for at the beginning," Oakland Mills coach Matt Hipszer said. "Honestly, the final scores might not show it, but we were right there with Centennial for a half this year, and River Hill too. We're still trying to put it all together, but we've shown good things and you saw it again tonight."
Wilde Lake recovered to send the game into halftime tied at 3-3, but Wildecat coach Jon Robinson knew his team needed to be better down the stretch if it was going to pull ahead.
"The game's not that complicated, they were beating us to most of the ground balls and I told the guys that once we turned that around the game would start going our way," he said. "Coach Hipszer had those guys ready to play, they were motivated and I thought it took us a little while to match that energy."
Wilde Lake did seem to up the intensity out of the break, winning the third quarter 3-1. Shawn Winans, Eddie Rzegocki and Lowe accounted for the goals, while Tom Klotz provided two of his game-high four assists.
Then, after Mawalo's second score of the night brought Oakland Mills back within one early in the fourth quarter, the Wildecats scored the game's last three goals to create the final margin.
"The kids grinded through it and got the W and that's all that matters at the end of the day," Robinson said. "Hopefully this will rally us for the rest of the way."
On the other side, Hipszer praised his guys effort and the positive progress. He singled out the effort of Kevin Han, a senior midfielder that contributed on both sides of the field, in particular.
"Ultimately, we committed a few too many penalties and that hurt us, but the effort was there and that's a big part of it. Now we just have to find a way to finish," Hipszer said.
Wilde Lake 9, Oakland Mills 5
Goals: WL - Tiffey 5, Lowe 2, Rzegocki, Winans; OM - Mawalo, Han, Harman, Brunno.
Assists: WL - Klotz 4, Lowe 2, Tiffey; OM - Mawalo, Neely.
Saves: WL - Kass 8; OM - Dudek 11.
Howard 11, Atholton 6
Scoring nine goals in the second quarter, the Lions broke open a game they actually trailed by two at the end of the first 12 minutes. Nick Striebich led the way with four goals and an assist on a night where Howard coach Jimmy Creighton said his guys showed a lot of maturity.
"I don't really like taking timeouts early in the half, so we kind of just let them play through it," Creighton said. "I was proud of them. Atholton came out ready to go, but our guys didn't panic and really pulled together in that second quarter."
Goals: Ho - Striebich 4, Ruggles 3, Wendt 2, Mills 1, Gerus; A - N/A.
Assists: Ho - Mills 2, Ruggles 2, Gerus, Preston, Striebich; A - N/A.
Saves: Ho - Mauser 11; A - N/A.
Half: 9-4 Ho.
Marriotts Ridge 13, Reservoir 2
Goals: MR - Harrison 3, Sullivan 3, Kerr 2, Williams 2, Campbell, Hebner, Bradley; Re - Mitchell, Olenick.
Assists: MR - Harrison 2, Kerr 2, Sullivan, Stevens.
Saves: MR - Schwarz 10, McTague 2; Re - Teodori 8, Beach.
Half: 6-2 MR.
Hammond 11, Long Reach 6
Friends 14, Glenelg Country 4 (Thursday)
Goals: GC - Burks 2, McAuliffe, Dizon.
Assist: GC - Suontausta.
Saves: GC - Wootton 11.
River Hill at Centennial 10, River Hill 5
SCORES NOT REPORTED:
Mt. Hebron at Glenelg