According to Annapolis Area Christian School assistant soccer coach Bob Masters, the Eagles’ junior goal Bryan Butler prepared for and wanted Saturday’s MIAA B Conference Championship Game to come down to a shootout.

After two scoreless halves and two 10 minutes overtimes left the Eagles and top-seeded St. Paul’s entrenched in a 0-0 tie, Butler “got his wish,” according to Masters and “he delivered for his team.”

Butler, who made 11 saves through the course of regulation and overtime, blocked one shot and coaxed Colin Spoleti of St. Paul’s to fire high, on the final attempt, to help the Eagles win the shootout, 4-3, and capture their first MIAA B Conference soccer crown.

“I am so excited. Four years of hard work and we finally made it here,” said Butler, a junior. “Our team played a hard two halves and two overtimes and it came down to a shootout and we were the better team. I’m proud of my team right now.”

In the shootout, St. Paul’s had the early advantage as AACS shot first and Crusader goalie Austin Brown dove left to stop a shot by Nathanael Schmidt. Mike Faby then converted the first St. Paul’s attempt with a low hard shot up the middle.

The next three shots were all scores, as Robert Butler and Jared Thompson converted for the Eagles and Andrew Barton delivered for St. Paul’s.

On the next shot, however, Butler made a diving stop of an attempt by Daniel Gutberlet. Daniel Brandt followed with another score for AACS and Sam Tana followed with a tally for the Crusaders. It was now down to one shooter for each team, and Steven Anderson delivered for AACS to put the Eagles on the verge of the title. Colin Spoleti was next for St. Paul’s and smacked a rising rocket that sailed over the center of the goal, setting off a championship celebration for Annapolis Area Chrisitan.

“A win like this is extra special because of the competition. St. Paul’s had a fantastic year,” said Eagle head coach Matt Schmidt. “It’s a shame it had to come down to penalty kicks on them, but they played very hard today. It could have gone either way.”

St. Paul’s had the better of the play for much of the second half and had several great opportunities. With just less than six minutes to play, Oluwarotimi Laderno got an open lock by missed high right with a hard shot, and with 2:10 left in regulation Gavin Llewellyn got behind the Eagle defense and fired above the goal.

Neither team had an advantage in the first half, as much of the action was contested just on either side of midfield. In the 15th minute, AACS had an opportunity when Anderson slid a shot across the goal mouth from the far right, but no other Eagle could run onto the ball which was momentarily loose inside of the penalty box.

In the 17th minute, Jeff Fountain got off a hard shot toward the left post, but Butler was able to punch it over the goal.

“It’s tough to end the season this way, but we did everything we could. We left it all on the field,” said St. Paul’s senior Mike Faby, who played the contest with a painful case of turf toe. “All the credit goes to them (AACS). They played great and are a deserving champion.”

The victory reversed a 4-0 loss to St. Paul’s, during the regular season, for AACS, which finished 15-2-0. St. Paul’s finished its season at 13-5-2.

Annapolis Area Christian 0, St. Paul’s 0 – AACS PK:4-3
Assists: None.
Saves: AACS-Butler 12; Brown 6.
PK Goals: AACS-Butler, Thompson, Brandt, Anderson; SP-Faby, Barton, Tana.