Boys Soccer: Man Valley blanks Pats for first region crown since 2011

Manchester Valley looked a bit unsettled at times in the early minutes of the Class 3A West Region soccer final Wednesday night.

The Mavericks started slowly as visiting Thomas Johnson pressed the attack and nearly scored in the fourth minute.


But Manchester Valley badly wanted that first goal, and the Mavericks eventually got their wish. When Riley Larrimore scored almost 16 minutes into the game, his team seemed to relax a bit and play better.

Larrimore added another goal in the second half. So did teammate Grant Scibek as Manchester Valley locked up its first region crown in six years with a 3-0 victory over Thomas Johnson. The Mavericks (14-2) advance to Saturday’s state semifinals versus C. Milton Wright from Harford County at Linganore.

Manchester Valley coach Andrew Harrell knew that Thomas Johnson (8-5-3) was a good possession team, and when Larrimore softly redirected a ball from Adam Sheely just past Patriot keeper Brice Gambill (seven saves), the Mavericks had their early lead just 15:53 into the game.

The officials conferred for a few moments but let the goal stand, which delighted the Mavericks.

“I think what helped us out a lot was getting that early goal,” Harrell said. “That really calmed us down. It kind of got us into our game.”

The Mavericks seemed to take charge a bit after that, and Larrimore agreed with his coach on the importance of that early score.

“If you’re the team that scores first, it’s easier to get momentum,” Larrimore said.

Man Valley goalie Griffin Potter (eight saves) played a solid game, as did Gambill for the Patriots. Both keepers are athletic and cover the goal well.

Potter got a break because Thomas Johnson had one shot bounce off the left post early in both halves. If either had gone in, the game might have looked much different.

“I’m beyond thankful for that goal post,” Potter said with a smile. “It saved me twice tonight.”

Manchester Valley's Adam Bowersox moves the ball against TJ Wednesday night in Manchester..
Manchester Valley's Adam Bowersox moves the ball against TJ Wednesday night in Manchester.. (KEN KOONS/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Still, Potter made a number of tough stops, which proved necessary because the Patriots kept pushing despite falling behind early. His defense also helped as Manchester Valley consistently cleared throughout the game.

Potter's best stop might have come early in the second half right after Thomas Johnson hit the post for a second time. Potter quickly got his hands up to snatch a rebound shot out of the air and keep his Mavericks up, 1-0.

“We had some opportunities; they weren’t missed opportunities,” TJ coach Jim Reigel said. “The goalkeeper came up and met the challenge.”

The Maverick offense then came through. Larrimore converted a nice cross from Connor Allen, burying a shot from near the top of the box with 24:41 left. Scibek scored his goal with 4:34 remaining for the 3-0 final.


This team also has a bit of North Carroll’s 2015 1A state title squad on it. Harrell coached it; Larrimore and three others played on it.

But this is Class 3A and a new school plus a new year. The Mavericks know that if they want to win a state title, there’s two more games left to win, starting with C. Milton Wright.

The Mavericks celebrated briefly after this win. They took a team picture in front of the goal but it was easy to see that they thinking about what's ahead of them in the coming days. This group wants to be champions.

“It’s my senior year,” Larrimore said and then flashed a big grin. “I want to go out with a bang.”

Goals: MV-Riley Larrimore 2, Grant Scibek.

Assists: MV-Adam Sheely, Connor Allen.

Saves: TJ-7 (Brice Gambill); MV-8 (Griffin Potter).

Halftime: MV, 1-0.