From the HCC sports desk:
BEL AIR, Md.—Freshman Nick Burdick (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air) took a feed from freshman Jon Bizzell (Kingsville, Md./Redeemer Classical) and found the back of the net as the Harford men’s soccer team pulled out a 4-3 overtime victory over Valley Forge Military Academy on Wednesday at Harford Stadium.
The Fighting Owls (4-5-1) snapped a three-game losing skid with the win as they kicked off a four-game homestand, while the Trojans fell to 3-3 on the season.
Bizzell led all scorers with five points on the day (2g,1a), while Tanner Nestler paced the Trojans with two goals.
The Owls controlled the game early, pelting Valley Forge keeper Robbie Sautter with eight shots, seven on goal, during the first 25 minutes, but it would take just one chance for the Trojans to get on the board.
After a long clearing ball from the Trojan defense, Harford sophomore keeper Taylor Dize (Bel Air, Md./Salem Christian) came out of goal to collect the ball, but would collide with Nestler who was coming from the opposite direction, and could not gain control as Nestler fired past at the 28:03 mark.
Sophomore Scott Covelly (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) would knot the score a little over seven minutes later as he took a through ball from center by sophomore Brian Six (Pylesville, Md./North Harford) and fired from nine yards out on the left side to find the lower left corner at the 35:56 mark.
The teams would end the first half tied at one goal each, but Harford was clearly more dominant on the field, outshooting the Trojans 13-3 and holding a 7-1 advantage on corner kicks.
The Owls would also be charged with three more fouls than the Trojans in the first half, a statistic that would become Harford’s bane in the second period.
By 13 minutes into the half, the Owls had already been whistled three times and on the fourth, Chris Wardynski deflected Ian Lake’s free kick past Dize to put the Trojans up, 2-1, at the 58:27 mark.
Just nine minutes later, freshman Dave Buettner (Bel Air, Md./Bel Air) would be dealt a yellow card, the second for the Owls after sophomore Jared Ferguson (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) was cautioned at the 19th minute in the first half, setting up another free kick for Lake.
This time, Nestler would finish the ball from inside six yards, beating Dize to the left as Valley Forge built a two-goal lead in the 68th minute.
A few minutes later, at the 73:00 mark, the Trojan bench would be cautioned and soon after Six would head a ball from left to center that Bizzell corralled and fired straight in to bring the Owls within one at the 75:03 mark.
Nine minutes later, Bizzell would fire on Sautter, who would deflect the ball away for a save, but the defense would not be successful in its clear attempt as sophomore Santi Meija (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) intercepted the ball and skittered a through ball from left to center that Bizzell finished to the lower left corner from about six yards out to knot the score at three with less than six minutes remaining in regulation.
The score would remain the same as the horn sounded, forcing the game to a 10-minute overtime. The Trojans would come out with full force, as Nestler fired a rocket at Dize from close-range, but the veteran keeper would easily handle the ball as he notched just his second save of the day.
After the Owls’ ninth corner of the day freshman Kyle Bem (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) would head a ball towards the left post, which would have been the game-winner, had a Valley Forge defender not been in goal to record the team save. Freshman Mike Heiland (Fallston, Md./Fallston)would take the rebound ball and fire at goal, but Sautter would come up with that save.
A minute would pass before the Harford offense streaked down the field, executing some nice passes as Bizzell positioned himself dead center, about 10 yards out, then scooted a through ball to the right, which Burdick finished into the lower left corner for the game-winner.
Harford outshot the Trojans, 26-9 and held a 9-2 advantage on corner kicks, but were whistled for 16 fouls to Valley Forge’s nine, while Sautter corralled 12 balls in the 90:00 and Dize managed just two.
The Fighting Owls’ contest, which was originally scheduled for Friday against Frederick has been cancelled, as the Cougars have cancelled the remainder of their season, and the Owls will return to action on Monday, September 28 when they host Delaware County at 6:30 p.m.