CMW’s Ryan Belfiore scored four times in the Mustangs 3A North Region victory over Towson; City upsets Huntingtown
by Nelson Coffin
Towson High coach Randy Dase has seen his share of outstanding boys soccer teams in his 31 year at the helm of the ninth-ranked Generals (11-2-2).
He saw another one — No. 4 C. Milton Wright — overpower his Generals, 5-1, in the Class 3A North Region championship match on Wednesday night in Bel Air.
The Mustangs (13-2), Dase said, “Could give (No. 2) McDonogh and (No. 3) Loyola a run for their money.”
Dase added that he scouted the Harford County juggernaut twice recently and liked what he saw.
“They are the best high school soccer team in the state,” the veteran coach said. “They have a lot of speed and skill.”
The defending Class 3A state champs came out firing against Towson, scoring three goals in the first 15 minutes to more than offset the lone Towson tally — a 40-yard knuckleball by sophomore midfielder Nicholas Lewis — to take a 3-1 halftime advantage.
Two of the scores were by senior tri-captain Ryan Belfiore, who found the net twice in the final period to finish with a career-best four goals.
“We focused on moving from the back and (making) diagonal passes,” said Belfiore, who has totaled nine goals in his last three games. “We have some pretty good scorers.”
Dase said that the Generals were well aware of Belfiore’s scoring prowess.
“We tried to shut off No. 7,” he said. “But he just has such a great nose for the ball.”
Wright also boasts a stingy defense that held Towson in check for most of the game, although the Generals did manage a couple of blasts that might have been successful against less able goalies than the Mustang duo of juniors Zach Hetrick and Matt Tritto.
Hetrick, who was handcuffed by Lewis’ offering that helped Towson briefly tie the score at 1-1 just two minutes after Belfiore’s first goal of the match, was otherwise flawless, if hardly tested.
Hetrick also caught a break when Towson senior Ben Niybizi rocketed a shot from 35 yards that sailed high.
Herrick’s backup, Tritto, made a brilliant saves in the late going on a point-blank shot by Lewis to blunt any chance Towson might have had to pull off a miraculous rally.
Despite giving up a season-high five goals, Towson sophomore keeper Caeden Fong made a couple of nice stops as well.
He denied senior forward Connor Appleby in the second half on a diving save and then did the same on a ball that skimmed off the head of a Towson defender to prevent an own goal.
C.M. Wright coach Brian Tully said that he was surprised that his team was able to solve Towson’s usually strong defense with three goals in such a short timeframe.
“They are organized, compact and hard to break down,” he said about the Generals. “But we have great team speed and we play to our strengths.”
With the win, the Mustangs advance to 3A state semifinals, Saturday at Linganore High School, and they will face a surprise opponent in Baltimore City College.
The Black Knight’s advanced with a 1-0 win over Calvert County’s Huntingtown, in the South Region final. Mapach Odolla scored the game’s only goal, on a counter attack, midway through the second half, when he finished a feed from Guash Hassen. The play began with a steel by Chaz Smith who played the ball forward to Hassen.
The Wright-City match is slated for 5 p.m. Saturday at Linganore High School.
Pictured above: Ryan Belfiore flashes four fingers to mark his career high four goal game in the Mustangs 5-1 rout of Towson.
CLASS 3A NORTH REGION CHAMPIONSHIP
NO. 4 C.MILTON WRIGHT 5, NO. 9 TOWSON 1
TOW 1 0 — 1
CMW 3 2 — 5
Goals: TOW-Nicholas Lewis; CMW-Ryan Belfiore 4, Jayson Butler.
Assists: CMW-Ryan Lindsey 2, Ethan Dolezal, Connor Appleby
Saves: TOW-Caeden Fong 6; CMW-Zach Hetrick 2, Matt Tritto.