Senior reserve striker Robbie Geisler scored two goals and the Chesapeake defense passed a stern test as the No. 4-ranked Cougars came away with a well-earned 2-0 win at No. 12 Severna Park last night.
The defending Class 4A state champion Cougars improved to 12-1 on the season -- staying perfect in county play at 10-0 -- while handing the Falcons (10-3) their first county loss in 10 tries this season.
The Cougars' depth and a strong defensive effort in the second half, led by senior sweeper Scott Mucci proved to be the difference.
The two teams will meet again Tuesday in the county championship game at Old Mill.
Last season, Severna Park dominated the regular-season game, capturing the county title with a 2-1 win before the Cougars had the final say with a win in the postseason on their way to the state championship.
Geisler's first finish in the 29th minute -- a header off an indirect kick from Mucci at midfield -- provided all the offense the Cougars defense would need.
"Mucci looked at me and then put a perfect ball to me. I just ran through and did what I had to do," said Geisler, who found the left corner.
Geisler's insurance goal, his fourth on the season, didn't come until the game's final minute as the Cougars tight-marking defense concluded its work.
The Falcons tried to use their speed up front, sending long balls to space, but Mucci and Co. were always there first.
"In the second half, they came at us with a good strong push, but we stayed with it," said Mucci. "We had tight marks, are working hard and not getting outhustled."
The Cougars outshot Severna Park 17-5 for the game, but the Falcons pressed the final 20 minutes of regulation before Geisler put the game out of reach. Few shots got to either of the Cougars' keepers -- Mike Schlein (one save in the first half) and Mike Fileta (three saves in the second).
Said Chesapeake coach Earl Eckhardt: "Mucci did an excellent job tonight as did the entire defense. We cleared some balls that were hanging around ready to be put in. This was a playoff quality game and both teams approached it like that."
Chris Ortel's header off a corner with 10 minutes left was one of the Falcons' best chance to get the game even.
After more Severna Park pressure, Chesapeake junior Adrian Titus countered, breaking in alone on Severna Park keeper Jon Hopp (10 saves), who made the save but couldn't come up with Geisler's rebound in front.
Chesapeake standout midfielder Mike Jungerheld left the game midway through the second half after knocking heads with Jesse Weissburg battling for a ball at midfield.