It took two ticks under 10 minutes for the host Towson boys soccer team to get into the flow in the Class 3A North Region Section I finals against Lansdowne, but when Mitch Boudreau scored with 30:02 left in the first half, the Generals (11-1-2) came to life and they added three more goals in a 4-0 triumph on Friday afternoon.
Boudreau’s shot, which was set up by a diagonal pass from Bryce Vanik, was only the second shot of the game for the Generals.
Lansdowne (7-6-1) had already had a corner, set up by a long ball by Tial Thawng, and a high shot by Van Thang.
The Vikings also had a shot on goal by Brian Atchimon that was saved by Caden Fong before Towson generated a shot.
“We weren’t stringing many passes together and it seemed like the ball was on a magnet to the white jerseys,” Towson coach Randy Dase said. “Luckily, it didn’t happen down there (defensive end), but our keeper was a little bit more busy then their keeper in terms of picking up the ball, but we finally shook it off and I think we finished up on a more positive note which is good.”
Despite missing starting sophomore center defender Thau Hmu and midfielder Brandon Hernandez to injuries, the Vikings got solid defensive work early from Nana Andoh, David Barrera, Ai Ling and Thawng and midfielder Thang.
“He (Thang) is our MVP. He’s our leading scorer, he’s all over the field and he rarely comes out of the game. He’s all heart, just an excellent player,” Lansdowne coach George Dunn said.
“I give credit to Lansdowne,” Dase said. “They played hard. They played tough, they were stringing passes together in the first half and clearing the ball out and the keeper had some very nice saves. They were winning 50/50 balls and we finished at the right time.”
Lansdowne’s closest scoring chance came on a shot by Ben Kolarek that hit off the corner of the post late in the first half, after Towson had taken a 2-0 lead on a goal by Rome Wainwright following a cross by Boudreau with 10:05 left in the half.
The Generals threatened to get more, but they were denied by two outstanding saves by goalie Nick White (10 saves) in the last five minutes of the half.
The first came after a high shot by Pearson Benassi and the second came after a corner kick from Vanik that was struck hard by Nick Lewis.
“I was just trying to come out with a win,” Lansdowne senior goalie White said. “I try as hard as I can every time I come out on the field and sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you get unlucky.”
White, who was in goal two years ago when Towson defeated the Vikings on penalty kicks in the regional finals, learned from that experience.
“I feel like the PKs was like a wake-up call because I saw that I was not as good at those as I would like to be, so I worked hard on those and I worked hard on my all-around game,” he said.
Dunn noted the progress he has made since his sophomore year.
“He improved tremendously since then,” Dunn said. “He trained a lot more and worked on his all-around game.”
Towson hasn’t won 11 of 14 games because of luck, but they have relied on the skill of players like Boudreau and Vanik.
“He (Boudreau) is like the little well-oiled machine,” Dase said. “Our boy, Bryce Vanik in the midfield, he controls the game for us. Bryce has been the heart and soul of this team. We depend on Bryce a lot, so I was pleased to see him do well.”
Vanik scored the Generals third goal and his shot off the crossbar, in the final minute, was kicked in by Benassi for the final score.
The Generals will play C. Milton Wright in the regional finals, possibly Monday, Nov. 5 or Wednesday, Nov. 7, because they can’t play on Election Day, Nov. 6.
“It’s sort of sad we don’t know the situation,” Dase said.