Cougars make an early goal stand-up for a 1-0 victory over Key School in the MIAA C soccer tittle game
by Gary Adornato
Our Lady of Mount Carmel soccer coach Mark Concordia remembers his 17th birthday with a tinge of disappointment. He was a member of the Mount Carmel soccer team that day and his squad lost in the MIAA C Conference final to Baltimore Lutheran (now, ironically, Concordia Prep).
Ten years later, however, Concordia’s 27th birthday celebration was a lot sweeter as his Cougars defeated Key School in the 2018 MIAA C title game, 1-0, Sunday afternoon at Anne Arundel Community College. It was Mount Carmel’s second straight league title under Concordia.
“This was poetic justice,” said Concordia of his turn in birthday fortune. “It’s all the boys. They deserve all the credit. It’s nice to see their hard work is paying off.”
Key dominated possession for much of the first half, but it was Mount Carmel which went to intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The goal came very early in the action when junior Aaron Hernandez lofted a corner kick into the box which was banged around before it was knocked off the chest of the Cougars’ Matthew German and inside the left post, at the 35:20 mark.
“Coach always says to run through it and I ran right through it,” said German of his score. “I chested it in.”
Hernandez, Mount Carmel’s leading scorer this fall, explained the strategy.
“Throughout the season we’ve been scoring a lot on set pieces,” said Hernandez. “So, I’ve been told to play it right on the spot and that’s what I did, played it right on the spot.”
The Obezags kept the pressure in the Mount Carmel defensive zone for most of the remaining time in the half and had two quality opportunities.
Sophomore Patrick Tormey dropped a corner kick into the box, at the 29:30 mark, that got behind OLMC keeper Austin Heid, but sophomore David Magdaleno was on the spot to clear it off the line.
With 5:15 left in the half, Tormey struck another excellent ball off a corner that whistled right through the box, but it was untouched by either team.
In the second half, Key pressed early, but Mount Carmel kept the clock rolling with long possessions in the Obezag zone.
Key’s had two quality opportunities to get the equalizer. The first came with 26:35 to play when Dylan Arthur lofted a corner kick to the head of Justin Draper who drove it wide right. Then, with 1:50 left, a ball was driven diagonally through the box where it was banged on goal by senior Graham Wood, forcing Heid to make an excellent sliding kick save.
From there, Mount Carmel was able to get the ball deep the Key end and work the clock down before celebrating.
Hernandez said the Cougars did not let themselves focus on the pressure of trying to repeat as champions.
“In the beginning of tryouts, they didn’t want us to say anything about the championship,” said Hernandez. “They wanted us to go out and play the season, as the regular season, forget about the championship we won and let the rest work itself out.”
Key coach Dylan Lewis said his team faced a difficult challenge after going down early.
“We went down a goal early and that is always tough,” said Lewis. “The reaction from the boys was excellent. They stayed calm and composed. We didn’t panic, but you have got to give it to Mount Carmel. They have a good defense. They have a very good goalkeeper and it was going to take something special to beat them today.”
MIAA C CONFERENCE SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIP
(at Anne Arundel Community College)
MOUNT CARMEL 1, KEY 0
KEY 0 0 — 0
MC 1 0 — 1
SAVES: KEY-Martein 1, Edwards 1; MC-Heid 2.