By Nickolai Sukharev
UPPER MARLBORO — The Whitman Vikings advanced to the state final after defeating the Broadneck Bruins in a penalty shootout following a goalless draw on Saturday in the boys varsity 4A MPSSAA final at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School.
Both semifinalists battled to a 0-0 draw through regulation and extra time but did not find a breakthrough. The Bruins created most of the opportunities in the first half while the Vikings tried their luck for most of the second. A penalty shootout separated the two teams as the Vikings emerged victorious having scored four of their five opportunities compared to the Bruins’ three.
“We played gritty and that’s what we needed to do,” said Whitman senior captain Thomas Mande. “We battled it out we had our chances … we made a lot of good scrappy defensive plays, we got back, made blocks, made saves and our keeper played a great game.”
“They [Broadneck] are a great opposition, they play really organized good soccer and they have a lot of talented players,” Mande added.
Having made the state final in 1990 and 2005 and the semifinals in 1984, 1986, 2006 and 2009, the Bruins began the match throwing numbers forward in search of an early breakthrough with senior midfielder Ethan Loftis creating the first opportunity.
The Annapolis-based team continued to press ahead with senior forward Ethan Romito creating his own opportunity but the Vikings backline led by junior defender Hunter Lee remained organized and responsive to their opponents.
The Bruins continued to apply pressure finding space on the flanks and through the center with senior forward Bryce Costello, but he could not find a path through the Whitman central defense.
Whitman, who won the 1979, 1981, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2009 and 2014 state titles, responded with pressure as senior forward Andrew Goldsholle found room to dribble past the Bruins backline, but his efforts were cleared off the line.
“We had our chances, but kudos to [Broadneck] for doing a great job,” Whitman coach Dave Greene added.
Following the halftime break, both teams continued to search for a goal but were unable to find a breakthrough.
The Vikings thought they scored when Goldsholle headed the ball into the net but the referee ruled the goal offside.
Vikings senior midfielder Ryan Machado-Jones followed up but his attempt flew just over the Bruins crossbar.
The Montgomery County team continued their domination through both 10-minute halves in extra time.
Vikings senior midfielder Natan Rosen created an opportunity but his shot flew just above the Bruins goal while Goldsholle’s effort was promptly cleared out of the penalty box.
Remaining scoreless during both regulation and extra time, the teams went to a penalty shootout.
The Bruins kicked first with Romito’s shot hitting the underside of the crossbar but failing to cross the goal line. Junior midfielder Louie Kerdock, junior forward Tyler Madiary and Loftis all put the ball past Whitman senior goalkeeper Sam Nordheimer.
After sending the ball into the net on their first three kicks through Rosen, Goldsholle, senior midfielder Thomas Mande, Broadneck senior goalkeeper John Vaalar saved Machado-Jones’s shot giving the Bruins an opportunity to take the lead.
Bruins junior forward Bryce Costello had his shot saved by Nordheimer.
With one kick remaining and the shootout score tied at 3-3, junior forward Harmond Cohen sealed the Vikings place in the state final after sending a powerful shot into the net.
“We ran into a very good Whitman team and we knew that going in,” said Broadneck coach Sean Tettemer. “We had a game plan in place and we followed that every single detail that we could.”
“We wanted to be in a position to win the game and we were able to stay in the game as long as we could, unfortunately, we ran out of time and penalties took over,” Tettemer added.
“We were trying to create as many opportunities as possible but things just weren’t going our way,” said Broadneck senior midfielder Louie Kerdock. “We put our best effort out there.”
The Whitman Vikings will face the Urbana Falcons from Ijamsville for the state title at the Loyola University Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore on Friday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m.