Howard County Times
Howard County Sports

Mt. Hebron boys soccer shuts out Towson to reach 3A state title game

It took a dozen shots and more than 60 minutes, but Mt. Hebron finally solved Towson's seemingly impenetrable defense in the 3A state semifinals on Saturday at Linganore High School.

Jared Simowitz won a ball on the right side with just under 20 minutes left in the second half and then played a perfect cross to Trevor Namie on the far post for what ended up being the deciding goal in a 1-0 Mt. Hebron victory.


It was the first goal scored against Towson (14-3-2) in just under 300 minutes of game action, as the Generals came in having posted back-to-back double-overtime shutouts in the region semifinals and finals.

"So much credit to Towson, they really came out and played us perfectly and lived up to everything we had heard about them. They forced us to make adjustments, change some things and fortunately we eventually were able to get behind their back line for the goal we needed," Mt. Hebron coach Mike Linsenmeyer said. "Jared and Trevor made a play and sometimes that's what it comes down to, who can make that one big play."


Mt. Hebron (16-1) advances to play Urbana in the state championship game next week at Loyola University. It's the program's first trip to the finals since 2011 and the Vikings will be trying to win their first state title since 2006.

On the other side, Towson saw its first trip to the state semifinals since 2008 come to an end.

"It's what you love and hate about soccer, all in a nutshell. You can play your tail off, both teams, and one team wins and one team loses. Sometimes it comes down to the bounce of the ball and tonight it didn't bounce our way," Towson coach Jon Becker said. "But I couldn't be more proud of our guys. I don't think there was anyone in Baltimore that thought Towson High School was going to be playing in the state semifinals this year outside of the 22 guys that are suited up for us."

Towson ended up with the game's first real chance, as Joe Weir had a shot from the right side go just wide two minutes in.

Mt. Hebron settled in with several quality opportunities after that, but Towson goalie Austin Wenck (8 saves) and the defenders in front of him had an answer for everything in the first half. The Vikings were able to get the ball into their offensive third, but finishing was another story.

"Adam Coplai and Jack Baker have been on varsity for three years now and they are kind of the anchors and then throw in Brooks Benassi over on the left and then Sam Edwards on the right, it's just a really solid group," Becker said. "They knew what it was going to take today and they came out focused right from the start."

The game was scoreless at the half and the near misses continued to pile up for the Vikings to begin the second half as well. Simowitz said, however, there was no panic.

"It happens a lot, where we have great service from (Alex) Simak or Johnny (Linsenmeyer) on corners, throws or free kicks [and it doesn't go in]," Simowitz said. "But we just have faith that if we get it in enough times, one of those times we are going to score."


That persistence ended up paying off in the 61st minute of the match, as Simowitz played a beautiful cross to the far post and Namie was there to deflect it off his body and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

"I play with Jared a lot and I trust him and I know that he works so hard and he won't stop until he gets that ball in," Namie said. "I went back post like my job … he did an amazing job putting the ball in and I just got to tap it in."

From there, Mt. Hebron's defense did the rest to secure the shutout victory. Torey Jones made several big saves, including one with five minutes left where he saved a goal by punching the ball off the crossbar, to keep the Vikings ahead.

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As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Mt. Hebron secured its first shutout of the playoffs and stormed the field to celebrate.

"Obviously our backline did a great job, our midfield too, and to shut them out was a great effort. It was a great accomplishment," Linsenmeyer said. "We have really been looking for that shutout because we've gotten scored on at least once in every game of the playoffs until today. And we obviously needed it, because Towson really played well."

Mt. Hebron 1, Towson 0


Goals: MH – Namie.

Assists: MH – Simowitz.

Saves: MH – Jones 5; T – Wenck 8.

Half: 0-0.