Hagerstown Loses a Heartbreaker in Overtime to Essex C.C. in Region XX Division I Semi-finals
Bel Air, MD.- Despite leading the game 2-0, the Hagerstown Community College men's soccer team could not hold down conference rival CCBC-Essex, as they ended the Hawks season in an overtime thriller.
Hagerstown entered the match as the No.3 seed, while CCBC-Essex was the No. 2 seed. In the third minute, the Hawks had an early chance, as freshman Garrett Hajjar (Frederick, Md./Urbana) took a shot, but it was saved by the Knight goalkeeper. Essex would then respond minutes later with a chance that narrowly went over the crossbar. In the 30th minute, the Knights saw their best opportunity of the half be saved by sophomore keeper Brian Kukucka (Monrovia, Md,/Urbana) as he tipped the skipping ball past the far post.
The Hawks would net the first goal of the game, when sophomore Michael Reyes (Williamsport, Md./Williamsport) backheeled the ball down the line to classmate Roland Wilson (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) who sent a driven ball across the goalmouth and into the net. Just five minutes later, HCC would go up 2-0, when Hajjar picked out freshman Zack Morgan (Greencastle, Pa./Grace Academy) with a switch across the field. The ball landed on one hop in front of Morgan who placed it up and over the oncoming Knight keeper.
In the second half, the Knights would pile on the pressure and eventually grab a goal back in the 62nd minute. An HCC foul just 18 yards out, resulted in a free kick that a Knight player hammered directly into the goal. CCBC-Essex would continue to attack and eventually draw the game at 2-2 in the 83rd minute. The two teams would head to overtime deadlocked at two-a-piece.
The overtime period saw back-and-forth action, but it would be Essex who would capitalize on the golden-goal and finish off their comeback victory. With just three minutes remaining in the first overtime stanza, a bouncing ball found the foot of a Knight player who placed it off the hands of Kukucka and slowly into the goal. With the win Essex advances into the Region XX Division I Finals, where they will face the College of Southern Maryland. This will be the Knights sixth finals apperance, five of which they have played and beaten CSM.
The loss ends the season for the Hawks, who finishes with a 10-9-1 overall record.