Kent Island breaks through to region title

The Kent Island boys soccer team must have felt like it was in Groundhog Day Tuesday night. For the third consecutive year, the team’s last obstacle to a Class 2A East Region title was Fallston, which ended the Buccaneers’ season the last two years.

Jackson Davis and Alex Weese made sure that the third time would indeed be the charm for Kent Island.

Davis made eight saves while Weese led a relentless second-half offensive effort as the Buccaneers defeated Fallston at Anne Arundel Community College, 2-0.

Kent Island (14-2) plays the winner of Oakdale and Walkersville Saturday at River Hill in a Class 2A state semifinal. This was the second region title for the Buccaneers and first since 2007.

“I feel like each year, we progressively got a little stronger against them,” Kent Island coach Lin Outten said. “The boys were less intimidated and more confident. I felt like we played with them last year and just got unlucky.”

Johnny Ritz tested Fallston goalkeeper Cason Donahue early, but Fallston controlled the run of play for most of the first half. Davis became a constant factor. He tipped a shot by Chase Adamiak attempt over the bar in the 14th minute. Ten minutes later Davis, a four-year starter, made a one-handed stop on Christopher LaHatte. He finished off a solid first-half performance with a tough hop stop in the final minute.

“He has become more vocal as a leader and he certainly makes a difference back there,” Outten said.

Davis praised his defensive effort across the board.

“It feels awesome; as a team, we did a great job,” Davis said. “The defense was always re-positioning themselves. There was no uncontested shot, and it made it a lot easier.”

Outten noted that his team always plays better in the second half, and tonight was no different. Midway through, Weese found Carter Childs in the open before he was called offside, but the Buccaneers were off and running. Weese had another cross three minutes later that had no finisher available on the opposite end. And then, with just over 14 minutes remaining, Maddox Tinjum was taken down in the box to no call, but the ball went out of bounds for a Kent Island corner kick. Instead of holding their arms in the air at the non-call, they responded right away. Carlos Chevez sent the ensuing corner kick toward the goal and the ball deflected through and into the back of the net.

“We just came out in the second half hard and it just clicked,” Weese said. “We worked to keep possession more often and then we went hard at their goal.”

Outten agreed.

“You saw it. As the second half progressed, Jackson had to make less and less saves and we moved up the field more consistently,” Outten said. “Our confidence grew as the game went on.”

The Buccaneers closed it out in the 73rd minute when Weese pressed against the counter attack and fed Tinjum for a nice close finish. Outten and his boys have finally crossed that major hurdle and are going to enjoy their appearance at the state tournament this weekend.

“I told everyone that we are playing the rest of our games here,” Outten said. “I guess we picked the right night and the right field. It worked.”

Fallston (8-9-1) 0 0 0

Kent Island (14-2) 2 0 2

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