GREENBELT – Rivals Eleanor Roosevelt and Bowie fought with free-flowing passing, physical play and fast-paced counterattacks for more than 100 minutes, as both lived up to the billing as the county’s powerhouses in boys’ soccer.
However, with the score tied at two after two overtime periods, a penalty kick shootout decided who would advance to the 4A South Regional finals.
Roosevelt junior goalkeeper Jonathan Middour wanted a shot at redemption after he committed two errors and allowed Bowie to net its two goals.
With the shootout tied 1-1, the junior guessed correctly, diving low to his left post, saving Bowie defender Christopher Shoffler’s shot. In the fourth round, with Roosevelt up 3-1, he was right again, making a kick-save and causing Raiders fans to explode out of the stands prematurely to celebrate with him.
“I knew I could make those saves,” Middour said. “We had been practicing all week and it felt good seeing all those people run onto the field.”
It did not take long to restart the celebration, as senior Perry Lawrence buried the final kick to lift the Raiders past the Bulldogs in penalty kicks, 4-2. Roosevelt will meet Northwestern on Nov. 8 for the regional finals.
Roosevelt senior Lovet Cheg exploded with a breakout performance, scoring two goals and leading the offense as striker Baxter Hamilton was heavily covered by the Bowie defense. Cheg put the Raiders up early in the first half after blasting a loose ball off a corner kick past Bowie goalkeeper Timothy Mangen.
“He is a man among boys,” Roosevelt Head Coach George Kallas said. “He is a tremendous athlete and has all the aspects except a left foot. If he ever found a left foot, any college coach would love to have him.”
Bowie responded moments later as Middour came out of his net to retrieve a loose ball but mis timed his run. Junior Justin Langba outhustled the keeper, taking the ball and shooting into the empty net for his county-leading 20th goal of the season.
Roosevelt continued to press forward offensively throughout the game, taking 10 shots on Mangen. However, the sophomore goalkeeper’s eight saves, including two in overtime, kept the Bulldogs in the match. Bowie Head Coach Frantz Deetjen credited senior goalkeeper Roberto Camacho for mentally and physically preparing Mangen for Roosevelt’s pressing offense.
“If it wasn’t for our senior goalkeeper, our sophomore goalkeeper never produces the saves he got,” Deetjen said. “He came along great and made clutch saves.”
Nine minutes into the second half, Cheg scored his second goal, running across the defense and taking a left footed shot that barely went through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Bowie senior Loannis Kiotsekoslous tied the game less than 10 minutes later by scoring an Olympic goal, a bending direct shot from a corner kick, into an open net. Miscommunication with the defense left the near-post unguarded, according to Middour.
Both teams pressed hard on challenges, accumulating 36 foul calls and three yellow cards. Defender Cooper Mazzei was given a straight red card two minutes before overtime for pulling down Hamilton, denying him a one-on-one scoring opportunity. The card left Bowie with 10 men.
Five minutes into the first overtime period, Bowie sophomore John Paja received a lower back injury that required medical attention. Play was stopped for 30 minutes as an ambulance arrived to take Paja to the hospital.
Roosevelt had one more shot to win the game with six minutes to go in the second overtime as Hamilton quickly chipped a 20-yard pass to a running Cheg. However, a diving Mangen saved Bowie and sent the game to penalty kicks.
Kallas hopes the offensive performance against Bowie can continue and his team will not become complacent against Northwestern and, if possible, in the state finals.
“We are so lackadaisical at times that we don’t attack the game and that’s when we get in trouble,” Kallas said. “We need to work harder and it is an incomplete subject for us. We will have to fix it as we go.”
For Bowie, the loss devastated the team, as it has now lost to Roosevelt in the state playoffs three years in a row. Losing five senior starters next season does not bother Deetjen, who said the team’s sophomores and juniors are ready to take up the leadership roles next season.
“We made the adjustments this year and we will be fine,” Deetjen said. “The rest of the county has a lot to worry about. I believe we will be the strongest team heading into next season.”