Boys’ soccer almost chokes, pulls through to advance to sectional finals

Dev Zoks
sports editor

On Oct. 30 The second seeded Patriots looked to take on Northwest for the second round of the playoffs on Oct. 30 after a first-round bye. After beating them previously in 3-0 during the regular season, third seeded Northwest was hot after coming off a 3-1 win over Richard Montgomery in the first round. “We knew it was going to be a good game, as we had not played in a while and Northwest was just coming off a playoff win,” junior center-back Francis Meyer said.

The Patriots had not played in almost two weeks, their last game being a 3-1 win at Walter Johnson to close out the regular season. “It was tough not playing in almost two weeks, but I thought we had enough momentum from the regular season to help us win in the postseason,” junior center-back Michael Auth said.

It was a chilly night as the Patriots took on Northwest. The student section was packed, filling up most of the stands and everyone was decked out for a blackout. Northwest handeled the majority of the possesion in the first half and seemed to have an edge. The Jaguars struck first halfway through the first half on a breakaway goal. At the end of the first half, the boys were losing 1-0. “I think our nerves just got the best of us in the first half, but I knew we were going to come out strong in the second half,” junior goalkeeper Matthew Kopsidas said.

During the second half, the Jaguars still seemed to control possession, but whenever the Patriots would get possession they seemed to get cheated by the referees who missed a big call when junior forward Alek Wroblewski was running down the field and got tripped. The crowd got rowdy after the no-call. The Patriots pushed on and after a long ball was kicked to Wroblewski, he touched it nicely, maneuvering his way through two defenders and kicking it in with his left foot to tie the game 1-1. “Nothing was going our way through most of the game and I was just trying to get our team going and tie the game,” Wroblewski said.

For the last 20 minutes besides a couple of nice saves by Kopsidas, there were no scoring chances and the game went into overtime. With five minutes left in the first overtime, Wroblewski got the chance for a free kick. Wroblewski kicked a beautiful ball to the left of the net that the goalie had to fully extend for, but the ball bounced out of the goalie’s hands, and when the ball hit the ground, junior forward Andy Ram was there to finish it and send the Patriots to sectional finals. “It was a crazy game, but I am just happy we won and get the chance to go to sectional finals,” Ram said.

The Patriots faced top-seeded Gaithersburg in the sectional finals on Nov. 2, too late to be included in this issue.