Mavericks top No. 7 River Hill, 2-0, for 2A state boys’ soccer state title
by Gary Adornato
Eastern Tech junior Mitchell Shanklin is not your classic goal scorer. He does not usually find the net with booming blasts. He does not create his opportunities with blazing speed or superior technical ability. But Shanklin, who utilizes cunning, instinct and determination as his primary weapons, scores just the same.
In Wednesday night’s Class 2A state boys’ soccer state championship game, it was a Shanklin goal that broke a scoreless tie deep in the second half, igniting the eighth-ranked Mavericks to a 2-0 victory over No. 7 River Hill at Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex.
It was the first boys soccer state title for Eastern Tech and only seventh state title of any type for the Baltimore County school. In contrast, River Hill had won nine previous boys soccer state crowns and earlier on Wednesday evening the Hawks’ girls team won its twelfth.
With the game clock nearing 15 minutes left in the second half and the Mavericks (19-1 overall) unable to put together a quality scoring combination, despite pressuring the Hawks (15-2-2) from start to finish, Shanklin did what he does best, meeting an odd bouncing cross that slithered through the Hawks’ defense, and pushing it past River Hill goalie Patrick Sherlock for his 19th goal of the season, giving the Mavericks a 1-0 lead.
Instead of striking a hard shot that Sherlock may have had a better chance to defend, Shanklin used a little misdirection, going to the turf to his left as he tapped the ball slightly to his right. The maneuver created just enough space for the ball to slip past the keeper and find the net. Five minutes later, River Hill allowed an own goal, created by sustained Eastern Tech pressure, and the Mavericks were on their way to the championship with a commanding 2-0 lead.
“I think it was Sam (Hatoff) or Kyle (Dengler), one of my teammates, they just played it over top, and one of the defenders missed a head ball and I took advantage and just tapped it in,” said Shanklin of his goal. “It was there so I just took it.”
Shanklin, a multi-sport athlete, said the majority of his goals this season have come off head balls and he credits the skills honed in basketball for contributing to his unusual but effective style of play.
“It’s not just soccer that kicks in,” explained Shanklin. “I also play basketball and a lot of basketball is just jumping up, you’ve got to rebound. It’s kind of the same concept.”
“The goal came from hustle and determination to get the ball in the back of the net,” said River Hill’s Sherlock. “Me, on the other end, it was just to get the ball out. When it came down to it, he was just successful. It was really a close play and it happened so fast. We were both going for the ball and he ended up getting the final touch.”
Eastern Tech head coach Peter Glaudemans, who completed his 26th season with Mavericks with this title, smiled broadly throughout the 15 minute award ceremony, beaming as he proudly shook hands with each of his players as they received their championship medals.
“It’s a little surreal actually,” said Glaudemans during the post-game press conference. “We focus quite a bit on making sure that the boys play for each other. They don’t play for me, they don’t play for their fans; they play for each other and they have done that beautifully all year long.”
Shanklin echoed his coach.
“I’m not just happy for myself. I am happy for the man next to me. We’re all playing as a team, as a family. I’m happy for the man next to me, I’m happy for myself, and happy for the coach. It’s a big deal, a really big deal, and I am just happy I could be a part of it.”
The pressure of making a state championship run apparently never phased the Mavericks.
“Every day in practice we go hard, but we joke around a lot,” said senior goalkeeper Andrew Holt, who recorded his 13th shutout of the year on Wednesday. “We’re brothers on the field. We have fun. That’s the most important thing to us and I think that is what carried us this season. It wasn’t this sense of hostility. We all bonded. We all got along very well. We came out focused every game. We knew what we needed to get done, we got it done and it came out in our favor.”
“We’re the first Eastern Tech boys soccer team to bring home a state championship. This is a really big deal, not only for the boys, but the entire school,” said Shanklin. “We get to come home and show them that we poured it out the whole season.”
“You look at the Fallstons and River Hills who have 10-plus, 30-plus state championships all around, this will be number seven for our school,” added Holt. “That’s a big thing for us to bring that home.”
River Hill head coach Matt Shagogue expressed his team’s disappointment but gave credit where it was due.
“Congratulations to Eastern Tech. They deserved it,” said Shagogue. “That’s a very good team. I’m happy for Pete and all of those boys. They’ve had a phenomenal year. I am terribly disappointed for my kids. They’ve worked very, very hard this year, over three months of blood, sweat and tears. It’s difficult for it to end this way, especially for the seniors. They deserved better, but Eastern Tech absolutely won the game. They were very, very good tonight.”
MPSSAA 2A BOYS SOCCER STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(at Loyola University)
NO. 8 EASTERN TECH 2, NO. 7 RIVER HILL 0
RH 0 0 — 0
ET 0 2 — 2
GOALS: ET-Mitchell Shanklin, Own Goal.
SAVES: RH-Peter Sherlock 4; ET-Andrew Holt 3.