Physical may be an understatement when describing the 2A East regional quarterfinal match-up between Fallston and host Rising Sun, as the game produced nearly 10 penalty cards en route to the Cougars’ 3-1 win over the Tigers, Tuesday.
“I thought we played well,” Fallston head coach Chris Hoover said. “We kept our heads and a lot of composure out there. We didn’t do everything we wanted to do, but we did enough to be successful today.
A majority of that success was found in the opening ticks of the first half, when Cougar senior captain Bryce Yapps laced a goal at the 10-minute mark, complimenting junior teammate Chris Lievendag’s goal in the fifth minute for a quick 2-0 lead.
The two goals, Yapps’ one-on-one finish and Lievendag’s bender inside the nearside post, helped set a pace the Cougars (6-7-2) would keep for nearly the entire first half, putting 15 shots towards the Tiger goal, but Rising Sun (6-5) would answer before the halftime whistle.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Tiger senior captain Mark Krummel put his team on the board to trail Fallston, 2-1, and Rising Sun’s second-half pressure would keep the Cougars playing to survive the final 40 minutes.
“We were running good diagonal balls to the corner and getting some good, solid shots,” said Fallston senior Keefer West.
“It was very physical. They were really into it and it was just a matter of who wanted it more. We wanted it more,” Lievendag added.
With better ball possession and offensive pressure, the Tigers kept the Cougars scoreless for 30 minutes in the second half, adding to a scoreless 30 minutes to end the first half for an hour of solid play.
“I am pretty proud of the way they played,” Tiger head coach Ken Ulrich explained. “They played aggressive and they played exactly how we planed for them to play. Unfortunately, [Fallston] scored two goals quick, but we played hard and I’m proud of they way they played.”
Fallston, keeping their heads amongst the numerous penalty cards being distributed and two Rising Sun player ejections, laced in one last goal off the foot of West past a diving goalie for the game final, 3-1.
“I think we did slow down the tempo, which was to our detriment,” Hoover said. “I would like to keep the foot to the pedal and keep pushing the pace.
“We used over 20 guys today, and that’s what we are going to do; keep throwing fresh bodies at them and keep running our system.”
Rising Sun has finished a season which was a general success, according to coach Ulrich, reaching a number of the goals the team set in the 2009 preseason.
“I think we achieved some of the goals that we wanted to achieve,” Ulrich said. “We wanted to be the number one team in the county, stay in the Chesapeake Division and be one of the top seeds in the playoffs. We accomplished all of those goals with the win over North East.
With the win, the Fallston Cougars are back on track towards another 2A State Finals showing, but they will first have to take on the Bel Air Bobcats.
Last year, the Cougars downed the Bobcats, 4-0, in the District VII Sectional en route to a 2A East Regional Championship and a chance to play for a state title.
But 2010 has seen a different result for the Cougars, who dropped a 2-1 loss to the Bobcats on Oct. 20, leaving a question of who will emerge victorious in their next meeting.
“One of the things is the field is going to be a big difference for us,” Hoover said of rematch with Bel Air. “The first time we played was at our place, and now we will be playing on their turf.
“We are a better turf team, too. I think if we continue to play the ball wide and continue to work our small system passing, hopefully we can be successful. But it is going to take an overall team effort for us. It is just about refining your touch and knowing that you are going to get true bounces.
|Fallston 3, Rising Sun 1|
FALL-Lievendag, Yapps, West; RS-Krummel.
FALL-Webster 1; RS-Mckinney 3.