UPPER MARLBORO — The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons boys soccer team advanced to the Maryland state championship came on Saturday by defeating Sherwood Warriors 1-0 in a semifinal match held at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School.
Following a scoreless first half, the Barons scored once in the second half and held on to secure their narrow victory.
“My boys played with a lot of heart today, discipline but everything else heart and love of each other,” said B-CC coach Gui Melendez. “That’s why we won, that simple.”
The first half began with the Warriors seeking an early lead, as senior forward Loic Ngnatho found space for a shot just outside the B-CC box, but came up short when his effort sailed over the top of the goal.
Sherwood quickly got a second chance to score when senior forward Ronald Little dribbled through the entire B-CC squad, but his shot also missed, going wide of the post.
There was hope for the Warriors at one point in the game after Little scored, with an assist by senior forward Jordan Kola. But those hopes were dashed when Little’s goal was disallowed after one of his teammates was found to be offsides.
“[Little’s goal] was a bit of wake up call, and we weren’t really locked in for every second of this game which is what we needed to be,” said B-CC senior captain Eli Sturm. “It was a bit shaky at times but we were solid and … we do really love each other.”
Sensing the pressure, the Barons responded when sophomore midfielder Carl Lauridsen received a cross from the right flank, but his shot also flew over the bar, leaving the score 0-0 at the game’s halfway mark.
The Barons opened the second half much more aggressively, putting the Warriors under pressure.
B-CC junior forward Nathan Messer put the Warriors under pressure by taking advantage of open space on the right flank, but his shot went wide of the goalpost.
But the 0-0 tie was to be broken 10 minutes later, when Sturm curled a free corner kick directly into the net past Warriors’ goalkeeper Matt Levy.
Having fallen behind, Warriors’ looked for an equalizer as the clock inexorably ticked towards the end of the game.
Little got another scoring chance, but was blocked by Barons’ senior goalkeeper Bennett Schwartz, who was quickly called into action again when sophomore forward Brian Nolasco followed up with his own effort.
With a minute remaining, the Warriors earned a penalty kick after a foul in the Barons’ box. But despite aiming for the corner of B-CC’s goal, Nolasco’s shot hit the post and the Barons quickly cleared the ball from their zone to run out the clock.
Although he would not make a player available for comment to the Sentinel, Sherwood coach Matthew Parsons was pleased with his team’s effort.
“They left it all on the field, couldn’t ask for anything more, it was a hard-fought game and the chips just didn’t fall our way,” he said.
The Barons will close out their season against the Falcons of Severna Park when the two teams will meet for the state championship at Loyola University.