SPRINGDALE – For the second year in a row, the Bowie High School boys’ soccer team and the Eleanor Roosevelt girls’ soccer team walk away as Prince George’s County Public School Champions.
The two traditional soccer powers faced the best opposition on record coming out of the 1A/2A/3/A region but continued their reign of dominance in a doubleheader set of matches on Oct. 23.
Two second half goals enough for Bowie win over defensive Phoenix in rematch
In a rematch of last year’s boys soccer county championship, Bowie’s Michael Adekanmi and Sulahmana Bah scored two second-half goals to lead the Bulldogs past International High School of Langley Park (IHSLP), 2-0, to continue their road for perfection.
After a combative first half, Bowie (14-0) changed some of their possession strategy coming out of halftime. According to Head Coach Frantz Deetjen, the focus was to keep the ball but be patient with their attacks. Despite having six shots in the first half, they did not convert on the opportunities they had on goal.
“We had to understand that, even though they were playing very defensively, when to be aggressive and when to take advantage of the moment and I think we did a great job of it,” Deetjen said. “We learned that we cannot be overly aggressive just because we had our opening, our attacks have to be tactical and if so, we will get what we need at the end of the day.”
Despite a standout eight-save performance by goalkeeper Emilio Antonio Paz Cruz, the Bulldogs broke the deadlock as midfielder Ferdis Melgar sent through a sliding cross into the penalty area, driving past most of the Phoenix defense to find a wide-open Adekanmbi. The sophomore calmly controlled the ball before releasing a daggering shot for Bowie’s first goal.
“It was relief because I did not want us to go to overtime or give up a goal and going down with them playing five (defenders) in the back so it was just a relief to score and get ahead,” Adekanmbi said.
Meanwhile, IHSLP (11-2) continued their defensive shape throughout, attempting to catch Bowie off-guard with fast counterattacks through midfielders Santos Muñoz Franco and Francisco Ramos Medrano. However, as time winded down and the score still in Bowie’s favor, the Phoenix tried to add more attack up the field with Captain Yaya Diabagate moving to striker.
In the dying moments of the game, a penalty kick was award to the reigning champions. Bah buried the goal as Bowie won their 14th straight game of the year.
The Bulldogs have yet to lose a game this season with their last loss coming in last year’s state semifinals game. Bowie has not won a state title since 2011 but Deetjen said if this squad continues the one-game at a time approach seriously, it can make history.
“It feels pretty good, especially going we won this back-to-back in the past two seasons,” Goalkeeper and Captain Timothy Mangen said. “But this is not our top goal; that is to win states. We lost in the (state) semis last year and we should make it all the way this year.”
Lady Raiders end Oxon Hill’s winning streak with a six-goal thrashing
Junior Zosia Nicholson scored one goal and assisted in another to help lead Roosevelt in a 6-0 win over Oxon Hill in the night cap feature of the doubleheader.
After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus on her right knee two times in her freshman year, the striker is enjoying her first full year as a Lady Raider soccer player. Nicholson finished the regular season off with seven goals and three assists.
Head Coach Bob Sowers admits to limiting her minutes during the regular season so she is prepared for the grind of playoffs and her senior year.
“The recovery was very difficult and challenging and taxing,” Nicholson said. “…But this is fantastic and really encouraging to know that I can come back from not playing a long time to winning.”
“She is really turning it on now,” Sowers said. “When we saw her, a freshman, she scored three or four goal in the first scrimmage game and I feel she is coming into her own again; I’m just talking it slow with her, increasing her minutes but I think she is ready. It is pretty nice to have a dominating scorer up top who can receive the ball with two people on her.
It only took Nicholson nine minutes to score, launching a 23-yard one-timer off a Madison Endres pass for the Lady Raiders’ (10-1) first goal. Following the goal, Nicholson used her five-foot-10 frame to hold off defenders in order to pass to freshman Sophie Swart, who flew down from the left side of the field, to fire off the second goal for Roosevelt.
Oxon Hill tried to quickly bounce back defensively, holding off Roosevelt attacks for the rest of the first half while setting off counterattacking plays with strikers Jamya Foster and Kimberly Gomez. Goalkeeper Ayana Dzidzienyo staved off several Lady Raider shots, finishing with 12 saves.
Roosevelt turned up their scoring prowess in the second half. First, Endres scored after receiving a Jamie Kraske cross. In the 57th minute, Kraske would be added on the scoresheet after scoring off a rolling corner kick. Striker Aliza Khan and defender Dursha Raganunthan would add two more goals to Roosevelt’s tally in the final 12 minutes of the game.
Roosevelt will look to carry the moment over to the state playoffs as they hope to surpass last year’s regional title victory.
“We had a lot better combinations than we usually do and that is because we kept our heads up but we have to continue communicating better verbally,” Nicholson said. “If we can do that better then we should be able to fly through the first couple of rounds.”