RIDGELY — Both teams generated scoring opportunities Tuesday evening at Bulldogs Stadium. But Bryan Reyna finished one.
Reyna, a junior forward, collected a lead pass from Eli Canade on the fly up the middle of the field and delivered the ball high into the net with 13 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the first half. Reyna’s goal stood up as the lone tally as North Caroline High’s boys’ soccer team won its fourth straight with a 1-0 victory over Easton.
North Caroline improved to 4-1 overall, 3-0￼ North Bayside, while Easton dropped to 2-3-1, 1-2-1.
Neither team dominated possession for long, and the final stats illustrated the back-and-forth action. Easton finished with 14 shots, five on goal. North Caroline unleashed 16 shots, six at the net. North Caroline created six corner kicks compared to four for Easton.
Both goalies, Easton’s Ashton Echternach and North Caroline’s Chris Jones, stopped five shots.
Echternach had little chance to stop Reyna’s goal. Reyna met with the ball and dribbled it ahead about five yards at a good clip, keeping ahead of defenders in the middle of the field, not giving Echternach any angle advantage, and the forward struck the ball well into a virtually unreachable corner.
No one else delivered that kind of scoring acumen the rest of the game.
“I got it on the 35-yard line and I messed up, physical mistake, I didn’t put my head down, but Eli came up, took it, passed it, and I got a through ball and I finished it,” Reyna said. It was his second goal of the year. “It was a big win,” he added. “They came out hard. We had to push back. We came back, fought hard, and we got the dub.”
Easton’s Kevin Mejia carried the ball some 40 yards through North Caroline’s midfield a few minutes later, but his shot sailed over the goal. Easton’s Joesito Myers hit the crossbar on a direct kick from 30 yards with 6:10 left in the first half, and moments later sent a roller wide right with 4:30 left.
Warriors head coach Matt Blue credited his nephew on the Bulldogs’ squad, Brett Blue, a senior midfielder, for disrupting Easton’s attack.
“They do a really, really good job of countering with just incredible speed,” Coach Blue said. “I think, to be honest, no matter who I put on them and what I try to tell my guys to do, Brett, my nephew, I thought that he just had an incredible game. With one player on him, two players on him, he was still able to turn them the opposite way. We were trying to put the balls to the corner, find the switch; he just played a really clean game.”
Easton’s best opportunity may have been early in the second half on a pass by Devin Vasquez and a shot by Myers that was deflected by Jones to an open spot on the right side of the goal area, but the Warriors didn’t have a player positioned to knock it in.
Mejia had a chance to score with 27:38 remaining, but Jones and a defender forced his shot to go wide.
Bulldogs head coach John Austin credited his junior fullbacks, Nate Sharp and Camden Constantino, for their defense.
“Nate and Camden in the center backs played fantastic today,” Austin said. “They cleaned up; they played great. They were a big part of the reason why we won today. It’s the way we rotated in the back tonight. Sometimes you don’t have your best game, but if you play your system like we played tonight, and you do the right things, sometimes wins happen.
“We played our system tonight. We played the ball wide, rotated in the back well, distributed the ball well tonight,” Austin said. “We didn’t have our A game tonight. This was definitely not our A game, but because we did the things we’ve been practicing and practicing we came out on top. I give Easton a ton of credit though. They played great tonight.”
The Warriors, who start seven juniors, have struggled putting the ball in the net with six goals in six games, including three against Class 1A Colonel Richardson.
“We had opportunities. We were just unable to finish,” Coach Blue said. “Hit the crossbar, put a couple wide. I thought our guys played well. They had a really good finish the first half and we just weren’t able to equalize the score. … We have to build a little bit higher, a little closer to the goal to get those looks. We’re getting them at like 30, 25, that’s just not close enough. If we’re getting them at 20, maybe those balls start falling in the back of the net.”
Kent Island 5, St. Michaels 0
STEVENSVILLE — The Buccaneers moved to 3-1-1, 3-0 with the win over the Saints (2-3, 1-2). Nolan Burns (assist), Carlos Chevez, McClain Mogel, Bryce Dameron and Matt Silver all scored goals. Ryan Callaghan dished two assists and Johnny Ritz added one.
Cambridge-SD 2, Kent County 0
SHILOH — Josh Suggs and Jacob McClarren scored a goal each and Ian Young made five saves, including one on a penalty kick for the Vikings (3-2, 2-1).
The Trojans fell to 0-5-1, 0-3-1.