Kevin Medrano, Joe Glos and Nick Liberto have been the core for Perry Hall High’s boys’ soccer team during its successful run the last several seasons. But the tri-captains know a state title remains a gaping hole on their resume.
The No. 4 Gators defended their Baltimore County championship Tuesday evening with a 3-2 victory over No. 18 Loch Raven at Franklin’s McWilliams Stadium.
Glos, senior Mike Black and junior Chad Bukowski each scored a goal for Perry Hall (13-2 overall). Senior midfielder Jordan Sachs had a pair of second half goals for Loch Raven (8-6).
In winning their sixth straight decision, the Gators knocked off the defending Class 1A state champ Raiders for the second time this fall. After sporadic play in the first six weeks, Perry Hall is arguably playing its best soccer, just in time for the postseason.
“Being consistent is the biggest thing. We’re not repeating the mistakes we did early in the season that cost us games we shouldn’t had loss,” said Perry Hall coach Danny Skelton. “We’re staying true to our game, not getting caught up in playing long ball, kick ball, out of control soccer.”
“You can tell in practice or when we walk in the hallway, everyone is really confident,” said Glos. “Everyone is stepping up, our freshman goalie is playing amazing. We are ready to play for the state championship.”
Glos, a striker/midfielder who headed to UMBC, exploded past his defender to take a through pass from junior Chris White to score the game’s first goal with 27 minutes, eight seconds left in the first half. The Gators controlled the play for most of the first half.
“I got great ball play through my man,” said Glos. “It gave us a lot of confidence leading up to the second half.”
Just three minutes into second half, Black knocked in a cross by Robert Allman. Skelton said he wanted to his team to apply the proverbial knockout punch to the Raiders, who took the Gators to overtime before losing 1-0.
Butkowski made it 3-0, moments after Kroll left the game after he came out of goal to stop Jordan Sachs. Kroll didn’t returned, and Loch Raven took advantage with Sachs scoring twice within six minutes, the latter with 3:35 remaining in regulation.
“They [Loch Raven] started pushing numbers and we started panicking and threw off our rhythm,” said Skelton, who began substituting around the 15-minute mark. “We did a good job hanging in there.”
Now comes the hard part for Perry Hall. The Gators begin their playoff push Tuesday with a 4A North Region quarterfinal match against Westminster, which knocked them off last year at home.
After losses in the 4A state title game in 2007 and 2008, Perry Hall is looking to get back to UMBC. The Gators hope to bring home their first championship.
“This is the last year for most of these guys,” said Medrano. “We really want to make it worth it.”
CLICK RELATED VIDEOS TAB FOR HIGHLIGHTS AND POST-GAME INTERVIEWS
Baltimore County championship
No. 4 Perry Hall 3, No. 18 Loch Raven 2
LR-Sachs 2; PH-Glos, Black, Bukowski.
LR-Rims; PH-Kelis, White, Allman.
LR-Van Cutsem 8; PH-Kroll 4, Collins 2.