Nine Harford County boys soccer teams opened in region playoff action Wednesday and five teams won, to advance onto Friday’s next round.
In the win column were Patterson Mill, Fallston, Harford Tech, Bel Air and C. Milton Wright. North Harford earned a first round bye and will also play Friday.
Class 2A East
Fallston (7-6) advanced in Region I with an 3-1 win at Rising Sun. The Cougars scored three unanswered second half goals.
The Cougars, who beat the Tigers, 2-0, just last week, fell behind early. Rising Sun’s Micah Young sent a shot high, toward the goal and Cougars keeper Cason Donahue. The shot, into a steady breeze, appeared too, high, but that breeze knocked the ball down and into the goal just two minutes in.
“I tell the guys almost every match, it’s going to take more than one goal to go,” Cougars coach Christopher Hoover said. “Keep your composure, I like to show them that as well on the sideline, but really, we have great senior leadership and very skilled younger players and they know that it’s a long match and that were gonna get our opportunities.”
Maybe the best of those opportunities in the first half came with five minutes to play. Senior Ryan Ward got a flick header on goal, but the ball hit the left pipe and bounced away.
The opportunities changed in the second half and the Cougars made the most of them.
Just two minutes into the second half the Cougars drew even. Brendon Mudd played a long ball into the wind where Christo Hondrogiannis battled for possession with a Tiger defender. Hondrogiannis won the battle and headed for the Tigers goal.
Rising Sun goalie Austin Jacob came off his line and tried to stop the charge, but Hondrogiannis got to the ball first and sent a low shot past the keeper and into the goal.
A few minutes later, Will Mayo’s bid to put the Cougars ahead sailed just wide. It was another couple of minutes later, however, that another chance arose and the Cougars cashed in.
It was another ball that Devin Reddel chased down in a battle with the Tigers defense. Reddel, like Hondrogiannis, gained possession and he easily put the ball into the net for the 2-1 Cougars lead.
The Cougars added the final goal in the last 15 seconds and it might have been the prettiest. Michael Estremsky drilled a rising shot just inside the top bar from outside the 18-yard box.
Mudd finished with two assists for the Cougars and Garrett Snelling added one. Grant Sopa had an assist for the Tigers.
Fallston goalie Donahue finished with four saves, while Tigers goalie Jacob had nine saves.
The Cougars will play at North Harford (8-4) on Friday at 4 p.m.
Also in 2A East, Harford Tech (7-5-1) defeated visiting Elkton (6-7), 2-1.
Both Cobras goals were scored in the first half and tech led 2-0 at half.
Enoch Wiredu and Conor Henderson provided a goal each and Henderson and CJ Skandalis were credited with assists.
The Cobras will play at North East on Friday.
Class 3A North
C. Milton Wright began its defense as two-time defending Class 3A state champs, shutting out visiting Edgewood (3-9-1), 6-0\, in Region II.
Evan Galant led the Mustangs scoring with two goals. Other goal scorers were Ryan Roszko, Ethan Dolezal, Grayson Hichkad and Garrett Tenckhoff.
Adding assists were Pierce Lloyd, Adrian Gonzalez, Tenckhoff and Derek McCrickard.
The Mustangs led at halftime, 4-0.
Bel Air (7-4) needed a late goal to beat visiting Dundalk (3-7-1), 1-0 in Region II.
Emre Sipos scored the big goal with 15 minutes left in the game. The assist came from JT Moran.
Bobcats goalie Ben Cook made one save in goal.
Bel Air will play at C. Milton Wright at 5 p.m. on Friday. The Bobcats edged the Mustangs, 1-0, in their regular season match.
Also in Region II, Aberdeen (5-8) lost at Patapsco (6-5), 2-0.
Class 1A North
Patterson Mill (4-9) opened with a 5-0 win over host Joppatowne (3-9) in Region I.
The Huskies are Class 1A defending state champs.
Scoring for the Huskies were Eric Neutzling, Christian Shertzer, Alair Lewis, Brian Pickard and Dylan Gough.
Assists were credited to Kyle Luddy, Reggie King, Ethan Shultz, Adam Hanzelik and Pickard.
The Huskies played two goalies with Ian Sauer making two saves and Ryan Frankis adding one.
Patterson Mill will visit Western STES (4-6-2) Friday at 4 p.m. The game will be played at Catonsville Community College.
Also in Region I, Havre de Grace (1-11) lost at Loch Raven (4-8-1), 6-0.
John Carroll saw its season end at Calvert Hall, 3-1, in MIAA A Conference playoffs.
Gavin Greene scored the lone Patriots goal that gave the Patriots a 1-0 halftime lead. Michael Gradus added the assist.
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John Carroll goalie Ethan Wagner made nine saves.