This year’s Century boys soccer team could have been the first from its school to reach a state championship game since 2003.
But it didn’t happen Saturday afternoon at River Hill.
Issac Ngobu’s goal with 7:18 remaining was the margin of victory, as Eastern Tech (18-1) edged the Knights in the Class 2A state semifinal.
Mitchel Shanklin, who had the Mavericks’ first-half goal, hit Ngobu with a crossing pass and the junior midfielder shot it to the upper left corner from 15 yards out.
“That was a great shot he had,” Century coach Scott Booker said. “He gave us fits all game. He had a good touch and a good finish.”
Chris Yanchoris scored for the Knights, who had beaten Middletown 2-1 in overtime in the regional final.
Century finished the season 11-4-3.
“We did a lot this season and everybody got better and better,” said Yanchoris, who netted the OT goal against Middletown. “I am looking forward to seeing what they do next year.”
Century didn’t generate much offense in the first half, but the Knights threatened to score 4:07 into play.
Dylan Breitenbach’s throw-in went right through the hands of Eastern Tech senior goalie Andrew Holt, but no one on the Knights’ frontline could control the ball.
Eastern Tech, a team Mavs coach Peter Glaudemans called his best in 26 years, tested Century goalie Bradley Shipley and the defense of Breitenbach, a senior, junior Aidan Lovelace, and senior Cole Kreger often in the first half.
Fifty two seconds later after Century’s offensive scoring chance, Samuel Hatoff put a ball through from near midfield and Shanklin, with two defenders around him, headed a ball from 18 yards out to the left corner of the goal past Shipley, a senior who recorded four shutouts on the season.
It was the junior forward’s 18th goal of the season.
Soon there after, Shipley kept it a one-goal game when he made a leaping save to stop a blistering shot from Ngobu.
But Eastern Tech almost scored midway through the half. Kai Kressman kicked a ball into the box and Arsalan Akinrinmola’s header went over Shipley and hit the right post.
Kyle Kropfelder had the only shot in the first half for Century on goal, and it came midway through the first half. It was an easy save for Holt. A hard shot from Century junior midfielder Mason Motter late in the period went several feet over the goal.
About four minute into the second half, Eastern Tech came close to adding an insurance goal. Shipley rushed out of the goal to challenge Shanklin for a bouncing ball.
Shanklin, however, beat him to it, but his header was just wide of the goal.
Century had a great scoring change with 32:35 remaining when Holt made a diving save to his right on a shot from Yanchoris from about 20 yards out.
But Yanchoris scored his team-leading 14th goal with 22:54 left.
Yanchoris corraled a header from Max Tano and beat Holt with a left-footed shot to the upper right corner from eight yards out.
“I am proud of how the team played today and all season,” Booker said. “It’s not easy to get this far.”
Goals: C-Chris Yanchoris; ET-Mitchel Shanklin, Isaac Ngobu
Assists: C-Max Tano; ET- Samuel Hatoff.
Saves: C-5 (Bradley Shipley); ET-4 (Andrew Holt).
Halftime: ET, 1-0.