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Havre de Grace boys fall a step short, again, of soccer state title game

The Havre de Grace boys soccer team was trying to get the proverbial monkey off its back Friday evening when the Warriors took the field at Northeast-Anne Arundel in Pasadena for their fourth straight Maryland State Class 1A Semifinal.

The Brunswick Railroaders, especially sophomore forward Vaughn Phillips, would have none of it. Phillips took care of all of the scoring in Brunswick's 3-0 defeat of Havre de Grace.

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"There's no easy games in the state tournament," Warriors Coach Tom Wintz said. "These kids came out, worked hard and gave everything they have and you've got to be proud of them."

Phillips scored his first goal late in the first half on an individual effort that left him open to take a shot from 12 yards out.

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Havre de Grace, meanwhile, could not crack the Brunswick defense.

"They were really well prepared, I felt they had a really had a good game plan coming out," Warrior senior Nick Burley said. "We didn't really perform our game plan."

Junior Fahim Bachu sent a strong shot from 30 yards out that sailed wide left. The Warriors also played two free kicks into the box after a pair of tripping calls, but no shots came as a result.

Early in the second half, Bachu made a run that led to one of four Havre de Grace corner kicks, but again no shot was taken.

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With Havre de Grace unable to create offense, Phillips added the other two goals over a span of 3:14, just past the halfway point of the second half.

The first came when Railroaders teammate Justin Poole carried a ball along the end line, before crossing it to Phillips, who easily found the back of the net.

The second came when Alex Eiben lofted a ball high into the box, where Phillips raced to get it. He took one touch and pushed it past Aaron Toepfer, the charging Warriors goalie, who got a hand on it, but the ball still found the goal.

In addition to the corner kicks, Havre de Grace (10-8) had numerous throw-ins inside the 18-yard box, but none yielded a true scoring shot.

The best shot came in the last two minutes when Bachu crossed the ball to Kevin Vickery, whose header was saved by Brunswick goalie Cooper Siegel. Siegel made five saves. Havre de Grace keeper Toepfer had two saves.

"It's heartbreaking, there's no other words for it," Bachu said, referencing the multiple losses at this level. "Working hard all year and keep coming up short every year."

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