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Previewing the boys soccer state championship games

Boys soccer state championship games at Loyola Maryland's Ridley Athletic Complex:

No. 6 River Hill (15-1-2) vs. No. 7 Eastern Tech (18-1)

What: Class 2A final

When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Howard County-champion Hawks and Baltimore County champion Mavericks have quality goalkeepers, organized defenses and balanced offenses. River Hill features goalie Patrick Sherlock, midfielders Evan Doten (two goals in the Hawks’ 3-1 semifinal win over Fallston), Alex Smedley and Justin Harris, and forward Andrew Donkor. For the Mavericks, who claimed a 2-1 semifinal win over Century, goalie Drew Holt has 12 shutouts with help from a stout defense. Isaac Ngobu scored the game-winner in the semifinal with Mitchel Shanklin adding one goal and one assist. Midfielders Kyle Drengler and Kai Kressman also bring impressive skills and work rates in the middle. The Hawks are vying for the program’s 10th state title and first since 2014, while Eastern Tech aims for its first crown in its second trip to the final.

Sparrows Point (10-8-1) vs. Patterson Mill (11-7)

What: Class 1A final

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Tough regular-season competition has helped both teams in their respective playoff runs. The Pointers outscored four region opponents 18-4 before beating Clear Spring in penalty kicks to reach the title game. Goalie Nate Schoene had 14 saves in the semifinal and gets helps from a defense led by Nick Rasmussen. Ben Hester is the glue in the middle of the field with Givoni Herring the top scoring threat up front. The Huskies lost six straight games going into the playoffs, but most were against ranked opponents in the area. Forwards Joe Cicenia and Cameron Neumann both have 12 goals with midfielder Andrew Papageorgopoulos adding 10. Sparrows Point has captured four state crowns, the most recent in 2006, while the Huskies are making their first title-game appearance after reaching the semifinals the previous two seasons.

No. 3 C. Milton Wright (14-2-2) vs. Great Mills (15-3)

What: Class 3A final

When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Mustangs, who most recently appeared in the title game in 2015, are poised to bring home the program’s first state championship with an inexperienced group that has been prepped by one of the area’s most demanding schedules. All-Metro goalkeeper Ryan Miller keeps things tidy in back with Conner Appleby and Ryan Belfiore leading a versatile attack. On the way to winning the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Chesapeake Division and North region, the Mustangs earned a 2-2 tie at No. 5 Archbishop Curley, which was ranked No. 1 at the time, and then had a lead against No. 1 McDonogh before falling, 2-1. The Hornets, from St. Mary’s County, are making their first title-game appearance — they reached the state semifinals in 1973 — and are coming off an impressive 3-1 win over Howard County power Centennial in the semifinals. Junior Michael Salguero provided the game-winner Saturday as the Hornets scored two unanswered second-half goals to advance.

No. 2 Severna Park (18-0-1) vs. Bethesda-Chevy Chase (15-3-3)

What: Class 4A final

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Anne Arundel County-champion Falcons have had it working all season with dominant play at both ends of the field. They like to pressure up high and play a fast possession game with Drew Belloff and Keaton Bathras the top offensive threats. Goalie Sam Farrell plays behind an experienced and cohesive back line. In claiming a 1-0 win over Sherwood in the state semifinals, the Barons, from Montgomery County, have posted shutout wins throughout the playoffs, outscoring their five opponents 10-0. They have won their previous five state title games with the most recent in 2007. This will be Severna Park’s 13th state title game in a bid to bring home the program’s fourth crown and first since 2013.



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