The Bel Air boys' soccer team finally found an opening against visiting Broadneck on Monday with the game's first goal in the closing minute of a tightly-contested first half.
The Bobcats quickly let it be known it would be their game soon after — senior captain Ryan Albright made sure of it.
After Vincent Rose's opening goal sent the home team into the intermission with a confidence boost, Albright quickly took charge in the second half, scoring three minutes in and adding a second goal later as Bel Air claimed a 3-0 win over the No. 15 Bruins.
Bel Air (3-0) has yet to surrender a goal this season. Broadneck dropped to 0-2.
Albright was impressive in making sure the Bobcats maintained its momentum. He took a nifty through ball from Grayson Harper and with time and space on the left side, neatly placed a left-footed shot from 15 yards that finished inside the near post for the 2-0 advantage.
"We said at halftime the first five minutes is really going depict this half and we said we were going to get one and we did," Albright said. "It was a great through ball from Gray – it wouldn't have happened if he didn't create the opportunity. It's indescribable [finishing off a big goal]."
Both teams welcome significant early-season challenges to prime for their respective league play – the Bruins competing in Anne Arundel County with the Bobcats battling in the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference.
They got what they were looking for Tuesday.
In a first half mostly played on even terms, the Bobcats were finally able to break through with less than one minute left before intermission when Rose finished off a chance in front on a ball sent in by Connor Lorenz.
Minutes earlier, Broadneck sophomore forward Louie Kerdock gave the Bruins their best opportunity, cleanly striking a left-footed shot from 20 yards that Bobcats senior goalkeeper Cameron Riley kept out with a diving save.
"The last five and first five minutes of each half are some of the most critical parts of a game, and they capitalized on those times and the momentum carried them and they did a good job pushing forward after that," Broadneck coach Sean Tettemer said. "We have a lot of quality players, we just need to figure some things out. I think we have to improve defensively as a whole – our whole defensive mindset has to change a bit. We're also not scoring goals either, though, so as much as we may be able to possess the ball we're still not able to finish and that's another piece we have to work on."
On Saturday, the Bobcats opened with two shutout wins at their own tournament – beating Patapsco, 3-0, and edging Eastern Tech, 1-0. Broadneck also opened its season Saturday, falling to No. 2 Archbishop Curley, 3-1.