The Perry Hall and Eastern Tech boys soccer teams both pride themselves on working hard, pressuring opponents into making mistakes and then being sure to take full advantage .
In Tuesday's big Baltimore County opener at Eastern Tech, the visiting Gators hassled more and cashed in.
Perry Hall junior forward Jack Muller was the most opportunistic, scoring two hard-working goals in the first half. Shortly after his second goal — coming five minutes before intermission — sophomore midfielder Yejun Kim added another goal and it was all the offense the No. 8 Gators needed to claim a 3-1 win over the No. 6 Mavericks.
After falling to No. 1 McDonogh and No. 5 Archbishop Curley to prep for league play, Perry Hall (1-2) earned its first win with a sturdy all-around performance. Eastern Tech, coming off an impressive 1-0 win over No. 7 C. Milton Wright, falls to 2-1 on the season.
Muller, who pressured Mavericks goalie Camden Cook to force an open net on the first goal and then finished off a nifty through ball from Aaron Burbridge on the second, was pleased to do his part and open Baltimore County play on a positive note.
"I couldn't do it without my teammates — they put me in those situations," he said. "They push me every day in practice to work hard and I try to translate in games. I like to leave it all on the field or else I just don't feel I do my job. It feels great to get a good win under our belt against a quality Baltimore County opponent and now we're on to bigger and better things."
It was the Mavericks who started fast and created some chances to score first in the game's first 10 minutes. But the Gators defense did their part to stay composed and the rest of the team was able to settle in. When the momentum swung to the Gators' side, they made sure to cash in. The two-goal spurt — separated by a minute with five minutes to play in the first half — pushed the advantage to 3-0 and proved too tough for the Mavericks to overcome.
The home team did get an early second-half goal from senior forward Adam Andryszak and created a couple of other chances to further cut into the lead, but the Gators stayed poised through the adversity to close out the win.
"We knew Perry Hall was going to work very hard to make us pay for our mistakes and in the first half they caused us to make some and they capitalized," Eastern Tech coach Peter Glaudemans said. "We did our best to force them to make mistakes as well and throughout the game off and on we did that, but were never truly able to capitalize and put them under."
Perry Hall coach Pete Eibner was pleased to see his Gators get on the positive end of a result this season. He added the tough opening assignments against McDonogh and Curley — regularly on their schedule in recent years — are pivotal for his team to move forward.
"I like scheduling those games because no matter what happens the rest of the year, we're never going to have a game as tough as McDonogh or Curley in the state — those are two schools that are perennially great. So we're not very happy conceding a loss, but it makes us better. I thought the guys responded well today against a very good [Eastern Tech] team."
Perry Hall junior goalie Ayden Crew turned aside six shots, while Cook finished with 11 saves for the Mavericks.
8 Perry Hall 3, 6 Eastern Tech 2
Goals: PH – Muller 2, Kim; ET -- Andryszak
Assists: PH – Burbridge, Wyant.
Saves: PH – Crew 6; ET – Cook 11.
Half: PH, 3-0