No. 3 Severna Park dominates, but late goal gives Bethesda-Chevy Chase 4A state boys’ soccer championship


by Nelson Coffin

Back when ABC’s Wide World of Sports was one of the hottest things on TV, part of the popular show’s catchphrase captured the emotion of winning or losing in a few well-written words, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

The latter part of that tagline accurately applies to the Severna Park High boys’ soccer players after Saturday’s gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to Bethesda-Chevy Chase in the Class 4A state championship match at Loyola University Maryland’s Ridley Athletic Complex.

No words of consolation were a salve to the wound inflicted by the Barons (14-3-3 overall), who snapped a scoreless tie in the blink of an eye with just one minute, 25 seconds remaining in regulation to knock the No. 3 Falcons (18-1-1) from the unbeaten ranks and deny them their third overall title and first since 2013.

It was bitter pill to swallow, considering just how quickly a game that was destined to go to overtime ended with a bad result for Severna Park.

Severna Park coach Ryan Parisi praised Bethesda-Chevy Chase for its ability to prevail, but felt his Falcons were the better side.

“It’s a game of inches,” Parisi said. “Sometimes the best team doesn’t always win. You look at the second half. Honestly, I think they (the Barons) had one opportunity. I don’t think they had one quality opportunity. We played great defensively. But when you play other great teams, things happen.”

The winning goal was earned on the strength of a play on the wing that went well for the Barons when senior forward Justin Anderson approached from the back line and fired a short cross toward the front of the goal.

The ball bounced off a Severna Park defender and caromed swiftly toward Falcon senior keeper Sam Farrell, who deflected the ball directly to Liam Brocker.

The Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior midfielder one-timed the ball past Farrell and into the net, all but wrapping up the program’s sixth state crown.

“I turned and played him wide,” Bethesda-Chevy Chase senior midfielder Eli Sturm said about getting the ball to Anderson outside the penalty area to Farrell’s extreme right.

Barons coach Oscar Caceres said that he told Anderson to go wide with the ball.

“We’ve been working on that all season,” he said. “He did exactly what we wanted him to do.”

Barons goalie Bennett Schwartz deserves as much credit for the victory as Brocker or Anderson.

First, he blocked a penalty kick with just over 24 minutes remaining in regulation and then made another spectacular save on a point-blank shot in the 72nd minute to prevent the usually potent Falcons from jumping ahead.

On the penalty kick, Schwartz said that senior defender Hale Liberman told him that Severna Park’s leading scorer, Drew Bellof, would look for the lower right corner.

“He’s had to make those saves all season,” Caceres said.

The Falcons’ other good chance to solve Schwartz came on a booming 30-yard kick by senior midfielder Griffin O’Neill that just sailed over the crossbar with 12 minutes to go.

While a loss in the final stings, it is not a reflection of what the Falcons accomplished this fall.

“We had an unbelievable season,” Parisi said. “We had 27 guys who competed hard for 98 days. The guys come in and they aim high. They’re motivated every day. They work hard, and they’re not content to just win a couple of games. They laid it on the line.”

CLASS 4A BOYS SOCCER STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
(AT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MARYLAND’S RIDLEY ATHLETIC COMPLEX)
BETHESDA-CHEVY CHASE 1, NO. 3 SEVERNA PARK 0

B-CC 0 1 — 1
SP 0 0 — 0

Goals: B-CC-Liam Brocker.
Assists: B-CC-Justin Anderson.
Saves: B-CC-Bennett Schwartz 6; SP-Sam Farrell 3.