As a cold wind transformed a mild November afternoon into a chilly evening under the lights on the turf at CCBC-Dundalk, the Eastern Tech boys soccer team warmed up Tuesday, as the Mavericks rallied for a 2-1 win over Dundalk in the 2A North Region championship game.
The win reversed a 2-0 loss to the Owls in last year’s regional final and advances Eastern Tech to a 2A state semifinal against Marriotts Ridge, on Friday or Saturday, at Bel Air High School.
The game-winning goal was scored by AJ Sibiski on a penalty kick with 19:22 to go in the second half. The PK was awarded after a wild flurry in front of the Dundalk cage.
Owl goalkeeper Jeff Burnette made two brilliant saves during the sequence, both from point blank range. Dundalk, however, was unable to clear the ball and was ultimately called for a foul in the scramble. Sibiski then booted the ball into the left side of the goal, beyond the outstretched arms of a diving Burnette.
Dundalk struck first on Tuesday when Shawn Gearry hit a low, hard shot across the face of the goal, left to right, which beat Maverick keeper Chris Wright with 29:23 to play in the first half. Wright, who otherwise played a strong game, committed a little too early as he attempted to make a diving stop and had no chance when Gearry adjusted his angle.
Tech evened it with 3:58 to go in the opening half off a set piece. The ball was eventually hit high towards the left edge of the box by Phil DiGiacomo, where Zach Crowther soared above the crowd and headed a fast-paced shot into the upper 90.
“I scored a similar goal against Digital Harbor (in the 2A quarterfinals),” said Crowther. “I made a quick run and got behind the defense and I was able to get it into the top corner.”
Gearry nearly put Dundalk in front, at the 25:15 mark of the second half, when he spun and struck a rocket on goal, from about 25 yards. The shot kept climbing, getting above the outstretched arms of Wright before smashing into the crossbar, and caroming away.
“We watched Dundalk play and we knew they were a very talented team. We knew they were good at generating opportunities through the middle,” said Eastern Tech coach Peter Glaudemans. “We did a good job on defense and were able to dictate the work rate.”
Glaudemans said he will give his a team a little time to enjoy the victory before focusing on the state semifinals.
“The playoffs are a process,” added Glademans. “You have to get through one game at a time. We’ll let the kids enjoy this, but the message tonight is that ‘we’re not done yet.'”
To view videos of both Eastern Tech goals, click on the Related Videos link above.