Catonsville senior tri-captain Bryan Barrientos scored his second penalty kick with 3:27 left in the first overtime to give the fourth-seeded Comets a 4-3 victory over fifth-seeded Perry Hall in the Class 4A North Region I quarterfinals.
The victory capped a home doubleheader sweep for the Comet soccer programs as the Catonsville girls blanked Parkville, 15-0, in their quarterfinal.
Barrientos ended the night after he drew a foul in the box following a cross from Emmanuel Amoako. He drilled the kick low and inside the post to the keeper’s left.
His first PK came with 18:39 left in regulation and tied the score at 2. That one was low and inside the post to the keeper’s right.
“To do it twice is just amazing,” Barrientos said. “I’m not going to lie, there is a lot of pressure, you’ve just got to take a deep breath and I had God on my side and I prayed before taking both and he helped me.”
“He got it under me every time, I don’t even know what I can do different anymore,” Parkville senior goalie Sean Knox said.
At one point, it appeared Barrientos might not have even had a chance for penalty kicks after he left with an injury.
“He got wacked in the ankle, he came out and we taped him up just to be sure and he came right back in and he’s the hero,” Catonsville coach Brendan Kennedy said. “He’s a three-year varsity guy, he’s been our go-to key play guy, we can count on him, he’s mister reliable.”
Catonsville (7-5-1) was aggressive offensively early as Haines Milnor had a point-blank shot 15 seconds into the game that was saved by Sean Knox and another saved two minutes later. Finally, Milnor dented the net after a feed from Barrientos and the Comets led, 1-0, midway through the first half.
That woke up Perry Hall senior Jacob Foley, who scored the equalizer on the Gators’ second shot on goal. Colin Apple assisted Foley for his second goal early in the second half, giving the Gators a 2-1 lead.
Barrientos left with his injury with 27:07 left in regulation and returned seven minutes later and tied the game with his first PK.
“Something we learned throughout the season is that even if we go down a goal, we have to keep our heads in it. We’ve got to keep pushing because these games are all intense, they are all really good teams and we knew we had to push,” Barrientos said.
Barrientos nearly had another goal less than a minute after his PK, but Knox made an excellent diving save to his right.
With 13:03 left in regulation, Foley deposited a beautiful chip from Apple for a hat trick and the Gators led 3-2.
The Comets upped the pressure and earned four corner kicks in the next seven minutes. The fourth one, sent in by Amoako, was headed home by Noah Gregory, tying the game at 3 with 6:30 left in regulation.
Gregory, a tri-captain, was dominant in the midfield throughout the game, despite drawing multiple defenders.
“He put our whole team on his back a couple times as he’s done all season, just to help create opportunities and bail us out of some nervy moments,” Kennedy said. “He’s been fantastic, especially tonight, all the chances he gave us and controlling the team, the tempo, the energy, he’s such a great leader.”
Tri-captain Mason Lober was stellar defensively, clearing potential breakaways and twice taking the ball himself over 50 yards for clears.
“He’s an animal, I honestly think only one game this year that he didn’t play the full 80,” Kennedy said. “He’s a monster.”
Catonsville junior goalie Ryan Graham came up with a gigantic save with 1:56 left in regulation when he came out on a wide-open Foley from inside 10 yards and stopped his penetration before he could dribble around him.
“It paid off, he did the right thing. We clearly made a mistake to present them with that opportunity and Ryan bailing us out was massive. Save of the season on his part and for our whole team honestly,” Kennedy said.
Foley got one shot that sailed high in the first overtime, but he made a huge impression on both coaches.
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“He was fantastic, he was just doing his best to create, he was so good on his feet, he was lethal in our third,” Kennedy said.
“He had a great game today for his last game, he was phenomenal,” Perry Hall coach Kas Iguidre said.
Despite the season-ending loss, Iguidre praised his team’s progress.
“I’m very, very proud of every single kid this year. I came in first year of the program two or three weeks before the season started,” he said. “It was a quick transition for them and they started off a little bit rough, but they got their momentum halfway through the season. They figured it out and they played very, very good soccer and I’m really proud of them.”
Goalie Knox agreed, but it didn’t ease his pain. “I’m proud, but it just hurts, it just hurts,” he said.
Catonsville advances to play at region top seed Dundalk on Friday and Kennedy hopes to get some rest.
“I’m not going to sleep tonight,” he said.