When Wilde Lake junior midfielder Matt Flyr was handed the ball from the referee to place on the line for his upcoming penalty kick, he never took his eyes off of it.

Flyr kicked it to the right corner, Arundel senior goalie Ryan Bagley got a hand on it but the shot went in anyway.  That would ultimately be the game-winner as goalie Daniel Evans made a save on Arundel’s next attempt to give the No. 8 Wildecats a 3-2 victory over the No. 7 Wildcats to capture the District V boys soccer title on Tuesday.

“We knew that we just had to place it, don’t think about where the keeper is going, just pick a spot and go there from the beginning,” said Flyr. “So I just came up and didn’t look at the keeper at all. I didn’t want to know where he was going. I just knew I had to pick my spot and I just hit it in.”

Wilde Lake has come out-of-nowhere this season to win the Howard County championship and heads into the playoffs with a 13-0-2 overall record (10-0-1 in Howard County).  Arundel dropped their first game of the season, falling to an 11-1-3 mark (10-0-1 in Anne Arundel County).

The two league champions played to a 1-1 tie and remained deadlocked after two overtimes, forcing the exciting finish on penalty kicks.

Wilde Lake coach Matt Pickett likened the 100 minute battle to another physical sport:

“This was a championship boxing match. It was a pound-for-pound, punching back-and-forth [game]. I kept telling them that you have to jab and hit, you can’t just throw all haymakers and you can’t sit back on your heels.”

He added:  “That had to be great for the spectators because that was a heck of a soccer match.”

Arundel had the first crack at the kicks and senior Corbin McCarron buried his attempt past Evans.  Wildecats senior Kendrick Pacchioni calmly finished his shot, again knotting the match at 1-1.

Next, Logan McCarron missed his attempt after the ball hit the crossbar while Wilde Lake’s Zachary Johnson made his, giving the visiting Wildecats the 2-1 advantage.

Arundel’s Cody Madison found the back of the net and this time, it was Wilde Lake’s Devon McNeel that missed, tying to contest once more.

Wildcats’ Mike Kovach kicked his shot high over the net before Flyr connected on his try, putting the Wildecats ahead, 3-2.

Heading into the last pair of shooters, it was clear that one of the goalies would have to make a big play for his respective team.

That goalie would be Evans, who laid out to stop Billy Fowler’s shot, giving his team the coveted win.

“[Going into the kicks] I was just thinking, be focused and determined, make that save, make a difference,” said Evans, whose pre-kick ritual consists of him running back-and-forth inside of the net before the shot is made.  “I was thinking, make the big play.  I did and we ended up winning.”

In the first half, Wilde Lake sophomore midfielder Luke Verdi netted a goal with 2:37 remaining.  Kovach found the equalizer for Arundel after drilling a shot from 25-yards out off of a free kick with 17:16 remaining in regulation.

“I tell you what, if you’re going to lose one, might as well lose this one and not lose starting next week, that’s for sure,” said Arundel coach Nick Jauschnegg of the looming state playoffs.  “Wilde Lake is a very quality team.”

Wilde Lake has a first round bye in the Class 3A East regionals and will play the winner of Howard/Mount Hebron while Arundel will host the winner of the Old Mill/Annapolis game in the Class 4A semifinals.  Both games will be played next Tuesday.


No. 8 Wilde Lake 1, No. 7 Arundel 1 (WL wins on pks, 3-2)
Wilde Lake10001
Wilde Lake-Verdi; Arundel-Kovach.
Wilde Lake-Evans 4; Arundel-Bagley 3.