Nine years is historically not that long, but it can feel like it to a historically strong program. Broadneck coach Sean Tettemer, now in his 17th year, has been around for so many wins as both a player and a coach at the school, but his latest triumph comes with the added value of experience and perspective.
Reilly Joyce headed in an indirect free kick from Ethan Romito in the 56th minute as the Bruins defeated Arundel, 1-0, at Anne Arundel Community College in the Class 4A East Region final.
Broadneck (16-2) has won 10 straight and will play Walt Whitman, the Class 4A West Region champion, Saturday at Wise High School in Prince George’s County. Whitman defeated Gaithersburg, 3-2.
“This has been a two-year process with them,” Tettemer said. “They took their lumps last year, maintained and were eventually able to stay a game over .500. We had 11 starters returning, so this was their opportunity to really put things together.”
Arundel (10-5-3) represented one of only two blemishes on the Bruins record, taking a 4-2 result early in the season. In fact, the Wildcats were the only county team Broadneck had not beaten, and Mike McCarron’s squad was on a roll coming in, knocking off two-time defending region champion Severna Park along with Meade to get to this game.
“We looked forward to tonight; teams just do not make the region final every year,” McCarron said. “To be in this situation represented something that was well-earned. We prepared for it and felt great about it and the team’s attitude was as good as it can be.”
The Bruins pressed early and Arundel’s Evan Slaney made five of his eight saves in the first half. In the slick conditions, he was forced to tip a couple shots to himself and tip one over. His defense did a good job protecting him as much as possible, as Andrew Versis did with a hard slide tackle nine minutes in.
“We were playing to keep the goose egg on the board and my back line played very well,” McCarron said.
Conversely, Arundel simply could not free up high-scoring forward Spencer Hanks, as it often looked like Broadneck had at least three defenders within five yards. Speedy wing Mike Magorka got free on the sideline a few times, but not enough to do any damage on Broadneck’s goal.
“We felt like the longer we could keep Spencer and the rest of Arundel off the board, the better we will be,” Tettemer said.
Tettemer pointed to the steadiness of his defensive unit as a key factor in this game.
“For the past five weeks, we have done a much better job defensively,” said Tettermer of a unit that has allowed just three goals during the current win streak. “We maintain that intensity and the philosophy that you cannot lose if you do not allow a goal.”
Arundel moved the ball down the field better in the second half, with second and third passes setting the Wildcats up in good threatening positions. Hanks was just high on a free kick in the 52nd minute. As Broadneck countered a few minutes later, an Arundel player went down injured. The referee stopped the run of play for the player, but also to award the Bruins an indirect free kick for a foul called on Arundel. Romito sent the ensuing kick into the middle of the box and Joyce directed his header to the right corner of the goal for the winner.
Arundel had a couple chances to equalize, and Broadneck had several attempts to extend the lead, but the final remained at one goal.
“We were just trying to play our game as we have all year long,” McCarron said. “Broadneck is an excellent team and will represent Anne Arundel County well in the semifinals.”
The Wildcats were looking for their first region championship since 1987, when Arundel finished as co-champions after their second straight state tournament appearance. This is a tough one, but McCarron has up to 19 players on his roster that can return next year, including Hanks, Magorka and Slaney.
“This is a great experience that left a bitter taste in our players’ mouths,” McCarron said. “They got a feel for what this is like to achieve this level and it is a lot of hard work to get here. They know what it is like and they will be sure to be prepared for next year.”
The Bruins won their seventh region crown and fourth under Tettemer’s guidance. The last came in 2009, the third in a five-year span for Broadneck.
“I have been doing this for a long time now and I have a different perspective at this time,” Tettemer said. “If you had told me back in 2009 that it would be nine years before we won again, I would have told you ‘No way.’ I am so appreciative of this opportunity to get back to the state semifinals and we are looking forward to it.”
Tettemer also noted how special this group is.
“There is not a better group to go into a final with; you don’t worry about the motivation or if they are ready to play,” Tettemer said. “They are ready to play and ready to compete.
Arundel (10-5-3) 0 0 0
Broadneck (16-2) 0 1 1