SILVER SPRING — Century midfielder Colin Williams proved to be prophetic.
The Knights sophomore said he insisted all week his team would win Saturday’s Class 2A state semifinal with a penalty kick. Williams delivered on his promise as he knocked in the eighth penalty shot to beat Oakdale at Montgomery Blair High School and send Century to the title game.
“I just thought all season, what if the last game comes down to the eighth penalty?” Williams said moments after his kick set off a celebration by Century players’ and fans. “You’re always thinking it’s going to end in the first five. I was always saying it was going to come down to the eighth penalty.”
Knights goalkeeper Ethan Ricketts made Williams’ heroics possible with a diving save on the final penalty kick by Oakdale senior Emmanuel Douge.
“We knew where some of their main [PK] takers were going to go,” said Ricketts. “I just made sure I covered my side — that’s what I do.”
The state title game berth is Century’s first since 2003, when the Knights captured their lone championship.
First-year coach Trey Howes, a former player for the Knights, called this a big win for the program, especially against a quality opponent such as Oakdale.
“We played maybe our best half of soccer all year in the first half and were down,” Howes said. “That’s a really good team. Proud of our kids for fighting. So happy for the Century kids, parents and the fans.”
Century found itself down 1-0 after just one minute of play. A penalty set up Oakdale with a free kick about 10 yards from the goal. Bears sophomore defender Owen Cuhna sent the kick into the box where teammate Jack Brown corralled the ball and sent it just over the outstretched arms of Ricketts.
Following the goal, Oakdale employed a shut-down defensive strategy. Every time a Knights player made a foray deep into the offensive zone, they were turned away by a pack of Bears. Century controlled the clock and managed several scoring opportunities with four shots on goal in the first half.
Century (14-4) came out of the break with a more aggressive offensive approach, attacking the goal with reckless abandon. It led to a few more scoring opportunities for Oakdale (13-1-3), but the strategy paid dividends when senior Jackson Glenn found the back of the net to tie the score at 1.
“I told them [at half] we were playing a great game, maybe our best of the year,” Howes said. “We were controlling the ball and getting shots. We just needed to be more aggressive. And we did that.”
The Knights continued the pressure with several golden scoring opportunities as the clock wound down to the end of regulation. Century sent two shots wide and another too high as they pushed out to a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The Knights advance to the state final next week at Loyola University to face either La Plata or Parkside.
Goals: C-Jackson Glenn; O-Jack Brown.
Assists: O-Owen Cunha.
Saves: C-2 (Ethan Ricketts); O-1 (Dylan Miller).
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Halftime: Oakdale, 1-0.