Eastern Tech junior center back Ben Kropp put in a solid day’s work Saturday on the soccer field at the Bel Air Invitational.
There was no doubt when the biggest moment arrived.
With the No. 11 Mavericks up against No. 2 C. Milton Wright in a game featuring defending state champions, Kropp headed home a corner kick sent in by Marco Barrera early in the second half for the game-winner in the 1-0 win.
It completed a 2-0 day for the Mavericks, who beat host Bel Air, 2-0, in the morning in a game that was postponed Friday night.
Kropp made the most of his opportunities with the freedom to move up on set pieces. He scored the winning goal against the Bobcats and added an assist before ending up the hero against C. Milton Wright.
“The effort from the team was great. We fought through every minute and that game showed our passion and heart,” Kropp said.
The goal, coming three minutes into the second half, gave the Mustangs ample time to get even. But a combination of strong defense from the Mavericks — goalie Ryan Jankowiak (four saves) was in position to make a clean save on a shot from Jayson Butler and Kropp took away a ball from Conner Appleby — and some poor finishing from the Mustangs helped protect the advantage.
The big early-season win gives the Mavericks plenty to build on.
“We really prioritize the kids trusting themselves and having fun along the way, doing the best they can. We made a couple of corrections at halftime and they did a great job and we were rewarded for it,” Eastern Tech coach Peter Glaudemans said.
Possessing the ball well and playing at the pace they liked, the Mustangs know exactly what they need to work on moving forward as coach Brian Tully assessed the game and his team’s performance.
“They were opportunistic and we weren’t. Our chances were there, we just got to be cleaner in front of the goal,” he said.
No. 7 Mount Hebron 3, Patapsco 0: The Vikings improved to 2-0 with their second straight shutout, getting first-half goals from Luke Baldwin and Ethan Bishop before freshman Jimmy Linsenmeyer scored his first career goal in the closing minutes of regulation in the Bel Air Invitational.
It was the second game-winning goal in as many days for Baldwin, who scored the Vikings lone goal in Friday’s 1-0 win over No. 13 Perry Hall in the tournament opener.
Patapsco, which fell to John Carroll, 3-1, on Friday, is now 0-2 on the season.
Earlier on Saturday, Fallston (1-1) claimed a 21 win over Hereford and John Carroll (2-0) beat Dulaney, 3-1.
11 Eastern Tech 1, 2 C. Milton Wright 0
Goals: ET — Kropp. Assists: ET — Barrera Saves: ET — Jankowiak, Jr. — 4; CMW — Hetrick 2. Half: 0-0