By Nickolai Sukharev
BETHESDA — Whitman Vikings senior Natan Rosen scored two goals for his varsity soccer team as they defeated the Churchill Bulldogs 3-0 Thursday to advance to the MPSSAA state quarterfinals.
“I think we came in knowing what we wanted to do and we executed that game plan really well,” Rosen said.
The Vikings commenced the match taking control of the ball possession in search of an early goal. Rosen, leading his team in attack, scored after just four minutes. After assisting his teammate, junior forward Harmond Cohen, in doubling the score, Rosen notched in a third goal in the closing minutes.
“I thought we played well, we didn’t finish at the right times in the first half … but I thought we were in control of the game,” said Whitman head coach Dave Greene, who celebrates 40 years of coaching at the school. “We took a positive approach to it.”
After defeating the B-CC Barons, the reigning state champions, in the previous round on Tuesday, the Vikings looked to make amends for their elimination in the previous stage in 2017.
Leading the Vikings in attack, Cohen and Rosen looked to take an early lead shortly after kickoff. Cohen had the first opportunity but his effort went just wide of the goal.
Rosen, playing on the right wing, took advantage of an unguarded flank to dribble past the Bulldogs backline and score with a long-range effort into the far corner.
The home team continued to dominate with Rosen both attempting to score and creating opportunities for his teammates but Bulldogs sophomore goalkeeper Nicholas Humphries reacted quickly.
Vikings senior defender Cameron Jones dribbled through his opponent’s half but a Bulldogs defender parried Jones’ shot.
Rosen followed up with his own efforts as the half drew to a close but the Bulldogs backline led by senior defender Grant Spivak held on to keep their deficit at one goal.
Following the halftime break, the Vikings continued on the attack, looking to expand their lead with Vikings senior midfielder Andrew Goldsholle providing crosses from the right wing.
Humphries was on hand throughout the half to continuously deny goals from Rosen and Cohen.
Greene acknowledged Humphries performance, adding “he made some amazing saves [and] kept them in the game.”
Attempting to get back into the game, forward Aria Ahadpour created opportunities but could not find the breakthrough for his team.
Twelve minutes from the final whistle, Cohen doubled the score by heading in a loose ball after Rosen’s long-range volley hit the Bulldogs crossbar.
Two minutes later, Rosen scored his second goal of the match after rounding his marker and dribbling through the Churchill defense.
“I think we could have played better and spread the ball more but they’re good defensively and good at pressuring us,” said Churchill senior midfielder Bryan Murphy.
“We played as hard as we could, the balance just didn’t go our way and we went down on an unfortunate situation and chased the game after that,” added Churchill coach Arnold Tarzy. “We didn’t go down without trying.”
Whitman will next face the Gaithersburg Trojans in the state quarterfinals on Monday.