Nov. 1—CUMBERLAND — No. 1 seed Allegany won its third consecutive Maryland Class 1A West Region I title with a 3-1 win over No. 3 seed Mountain Ridge on Tuesday.
"It's always good to win," Allegany head coach Blake Geatz said. "I thought we came out with a lot of heart, came out with a lot of passion. We came out with an intensity we talked about all season long."
The Campers (16-0) generated enough momentum to hold on after scoring late in the first half and early in the second.
"It wasn't our best piece today," Mountain Ridge head coach Tim Nightengale said. "We came in, I thought we had a good game plan. At moments, we executed and at times we didn't. Against a good quality team you gotta be spot on."
After Allegany just missed its first two shots of the game, Mason Salvadge sent a long cross to Macello Kitchen about six minutes in. Kitchen shot from the far right side of the net and found the bottom left corner for the game's opening goal.
"We're always trying to go out there and score on you in the first five minutes so we're playing with the lead," Geatz said. "He took that chance very brilliantly, that was a tough angle. I think that was great for our team's morale, I think that was great for his morale."
About 20 minutes into the first half, the Campers set up for a penalty kick. Ashton Reuschel dove to his right and saved the kick to keep it a one score game.
"That was huge for us," Nightengale said. "That kinda gave us a little spark, a little bit of fight and fire."
About 12 minutes later, Charlie Simpson set up Eli Cooper for a tap-in goal to tie the game for the Miners (7-6-3).
After Liam Mowbray collided with a Miners' defender, he was awarded a free kick. He scored from about 10 yards out with 10 seconds left in the first half to give Allegany a 2-1 halftime lead.
"So important, extremely pivotal," Geatz said. "I don't know if I'd call that the momentum swinger of the game, but it was definitely the momentum swing we needed going into half."
The Campers only needed 21 seconds in the second half to find the back of the net. Salvadge set up Mowbray for his second goal of the game.
"That's a huge deflation," Nightengale said. "We had a long kickoff I thought we had attacked, we weren't able to tackle the ball away."
Allegany controlled possession and shots, finishing with a 24-7 advantage in shots. Mountain Ridge had some chances in the second half, but were unable to capitalize.
"Soccer's a cruel game," Nightengale said. "Sometimes the ball falls your way, sometimes it doesn't. Tonight it didn't fall our way. Tonight, we kicked it at (Eoin) Mowbray twice, he made good saves. Hopefully it's one of those things where experience for the younger kids. They'll learn from it and make it a successful attempt the next time."
The Miners had a 3-2 edge in corners. Reuschel recorded seven saves for Mountain Ridge while Mowbray saved four for Allegany.
The Miners season came to an end on Tuesday.
"We got a lot of different kids, a lot of different personalities," Nightengale said of this year's team. "But we came together as a family this year. We had fun at practice, we had a great week of practice. They came every day with good attitudes, worked, did what we asked them to do. They were a pleasure to be around and that's all you can ask for."
The Campers advance to the state quarterfinals this weekend. Geatz said he expects to play the winner of Liberty and South Carroll, but it will be finalized by Wednesday.
"It's always one of our goals that we put on that whiteboard," Geatz said of winning another region title. "It's nice to check it off, but it's absolutely not the holy grail."
Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at email@example.com.