BALTIMORE – The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Barons boys soccer team defeated the Severna Park Falcons Saturday evening at Loyola University's Ridley Athletic Complex with the final score 1-0, as a last-minute goal by senior forward Liam Brocker gave the Barons their first Maryland 4A championship in ten years.
The game-winning goal came three minutes after a heart-stopping moment for the Barons, when it had looked like Severna Park senior midfielder Keaton Bathras had scored, breaking the 0-0 stalemate that had prevailed for the previous 77 minutes.
But Bathras’ goal was disallowed after one of his teammates was found offsides.
When play resumed, Barons senior Eli Sturm played Justin Anderson who found enough open space on the right wing to lay down a perfect pass to Brocker, who scored the deciding goal with less than a minute to play.
As time ran out and the final whistle sounded, the entire Barons squad ran to the stands, joining the classmates who came to watch B-CC’s victory in celebration while waving scarves and throwing celebratory smoke bombs.
But even though he scored the deciding goal, Brocker refused to take sole credit for his team’s achievement.
"I was very excited for my team. The team won, not me," he said.
B-CC coach Gui Melendez expressed a similar sentiment regarding his own role in the victory.
"The boys play. I'm the coach, but they play and they're the ones who won," said Melendez in a postgame press conference. "I knew they could win."
Saturday’s game had been a mostly even matchup, which opened with both teams attempting shots on goal.
The Barons created the first opportunity when junior forward Nathan Messer found space on the right flank but his effort went into the side netting.
Severna Park then responded on the other end when senior forward Drew Belloff dribbled into the Barons' box but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
As the first half progressed, neither team controlled the pace or dominated possession.
Messer latched onto a midfield pass for a shot at one point, but his attempt flew wide of the post.
The Falcons also earned a corner kick close to halftime, but failed to score as the Barons were well positioned to defend their goal.
Following the break, the Barons began to press a little harder in search of the first goal of the evening.
Barons sophomore midfielder Carl Lauridsen connected onto a corner kick, but his header went over the top netting. Lauridsen's teammate, senior Justin Anderson, followed up with another, which again went over the bar.
Feeling the pressure, the Falcons mounted a counterattack, and a foul inside the Barons' box prompted the referee to award them a spot kick.
Belloff stepped up for it, but Barons' goalkeeper Bennett Schwartz anticipated the direction of his shot and blocked it.
Severna Park continued to press the Barons on offense. Belloff had one more opportunity but his shot was promptly blocked by Schwartz.
"There were a bunch of opportunities to score but at the end of the day I didn't finish the ones should have," Beloff said.
With three minutes remaining, Severna Park thought they had taken the lead with Bathras’ goal, but it was disallowed after a Falcon teammate was found offsides.
Just over a minute from time, B-CC responded with a counterattack.
Barons senior Eli Sturm coordinated with Justin Anderson who found space on the right wing to lay down a perfect pass for senior forward Liam Brocker to score the deciding goal.
"We played a great game, came out in the second half and created a bunch of opportunities," Severna Park head coach Ryan Parisi said following the match. "We were the better team but it's a game of inches; one inch one way, maybe it's a different outcome."