After the referee blew the whistle one last time Tuesday at Parker Field, the Liberty and South Carroll boys soccer teams reacted with a mix of emotions.

Some were frustrated. Others seemed somewhat content. A few had a slight limp, the byproduct of a 1-1 tie in yet another closely contested county soccer match, where overtime could not decide a victor.


South Carroll (5-1-3, 0-0-2) already has two ties in county play. Same with Liberty (3-3-2, 0-0-2). This is becoming a trend already.

"There are no easy games in the county this year," Liberty coach Dave Abarbanel said. "It's the deepest I've seen it."

He's been Liberty's coach for three years, associated with the program for the last five.

Contested games against South Carroll and Liberty are nothing new, of course. Last year, Liberty prevailed 1-0 in the county championship game against the Cavaliers.

"If you want to see a close game," Abarbanel said, "then come see South Carroll-Liberty play in boys soccer."

South Carroll captain Kevin Morris scored on a first half penalty kick to open the scoring with 23 minutes remaining in the first half. His shot was perfectly placed in the upper right corner of the net. Nothing Liberty goalkeeper Justin Brookhart (five saves) could do about it.

Morris' opportunity was set up when South Carroll senior forward Ryan Rosenthal evaded two Liberty defenders and drew a foul just inside the box. It appeared that could be all the offense South Carroll would need. The Cavaliers defense, with three returning starters, had conceded just five goals all season entering tonight and were thwarting Liberty's attempts to break through the midfield.

But Liberty senior West Oneto found an opening and scored midway through the second half. Prior to Oneto's goal, Liberty had been building attacks.

Abarbanel said it was a tale of two halves with his team playing far better in the second half than the first.

"We were not happy coaches at halftime," he said.

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Before the Cavaliers gathered at halftime, South Carroll coach Tim Novotny greeted his defenders with high fives.

The only time South Carroll conceded multiple goals this year came in a 3-1 season-opening loss to Howard County power Centennial. Since then, a group led by seniors Spencer Gleeson, Scott Dillon, Adam Russo, and Brady Finzel, along with midfielder Logan Baker, have limited opportunities.

"We have really good chemistry," Dillon said. "I think we play well together and practice well together."

The Cavaliers have four shutouts already this year. But not Tuesday night.


Oneto's goal meant two overtime periods.

Despite quality scoring opportunities for both teams in overtime, there would be no other goals. Brookhart had a leaping save in the second overtime to deny South Carroll, which managed one last rally before time expired.

"Both teams wanted it pretty badly," Novotny said. "I thought it was a typical Liberty-South Carroll match. No team dominated the other. It was hard fought."

Goals: L-West Oneto; SC-Kevin Morris.

Assists: None.

Saves: L-5 (Justin Brookhart 5); SC- 5 (Chris Nunez-Mendez 3, Brayden Fugini 2).

Halftime: SC, 1-0.

JV result: Liberty, 3-0.