B-CC Shuts Out QO Cougars (PHOTO)
After scoring at least 2 goals in all 11 of their previous games this season, the Cougars were shut out on Thursday night and lost 0-1 to a very good Bethesda-Chevy Chase team. For the QO boys and their many fans, it was a disappointing way to end the regular season, but their final record of 10-2 is the best record by a QO soccer team that anyone can remember and still makes the Cougars one of the favorites in the Maryland State Playoffs. The playoff schedule will be announced on Monday, but they will likely have a first round bye.
Perhaps because of the senior night festivities, the Cougars came out very flat and did not look like the number 4 ranked team in the area at the start of the game. B-CC played with much more precision for the first 20 minutes and, for the first time all season, the Cougars’ opponent dominated possession for much of the first half.
Even so, QO had one of its best scoring opportunities in the 7th minute, when they launched a quick counterattack and sent a long ball down the left side for senior forward Eli Holmstead. He outpaced two defenders with 2 good touches and created a one-on-one opportunity against the B-CC goalkeeper, but his right-footed shot went wide right.
The only goal of the game came in the 19th minute. B-CC had possession in front of the box and, after QO missed 2 good chances to clear the ball, it came bouncing to B-CC senior forward Ian Rosenblum just outside the right corner of the box. He attempted to take a hard shot but appeared to miss-hit it high in the air. The spinning ball seemed to go in slow motion well over the head of the QO goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net.
Going down a goal seemed to wake up the Cougars, and they began to play with more precision and intensity. They created several good opportunities with crosses in front of the net, including a beautiful cross from sophomore Ronin Robertson to Holmstead at the near post. Holmstead timed his run perfectly and hit a hard ball on target, but the B-CC keeper just managed to deflect it over the crossbar to keep QO off the board.
With 5 minutes left in the half, QO goalkeeper Scott Drazan went down with an injury after clearing the ball out of bounds. Play was stopped for several minutes before he managed to limp slowly off the field. Junior goalie Erick Castello came on to replace Drazan and just 30 seconds later made one of the best saves of the game – diving to his left to stop a very well hit ball from just outside the box to keep the Cougars within 1 goal at halftime. Minutes later, Drazan was able to come back on to mind the net.
In the first half, the Cougars managed to get off 8 shots but only 1 on goal. B-CC had taken 7 shots with 3 on goal, including the shot from Rosenblum that turned out to be the game-winner.
The Cougars looked better in the second half. They dominated possession for long stretches and created several good opportunities in front of the net. They won a number of free kicks, which center midfielder Alex Martinez sent with pin-point accuracy into the box. On one, senior defender Marco Capraro headed the ball just over the crossbar, and Holmstead had a sharp header off another that the B-CC keeper just managed to push over the crossbar.
In the second half, QO had 11 shots, including 7 on goal; and B-CC had just 5 shots with 2 on goal. But B-CC was well organized and well disciplined on defense and in the midfield and managed to keep the high-scoring Cougars off the board for the full 80 minutes.
Although the game was disappointing for the Cougars, it had no effect on the final standings. The players and their fans hope that it will serve as a good lesson for the Cougars as they prepare for what could and should be a long run in the playoffs.