The Northwestern High School boys soccer team’s best season in nearly 20 years ended in Saturday’s 2-1, Class 4A state semifinal loss to Anne Arundel County’s Severna Park at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville.
The Falcons will face Montgomery County’s Thomas S. Wootton this week in the championship game.
After falling to the eventual state champion Bowie in the first round of last year’s Class 4A South Region tournament, the Wildcats (13-3) followed up this year’s Prince George’s County title with their first region crown since 1995. That year Northwestern won its second overall state title.
“We had a successful season. We learned from our mistakes [last year]. We won counties, we won the region final, we had a shot [Saturday] but it would take perfection to win and we were not perfect,” fourth-year Northwestern coach Nigel Trim said.
The Wildcats looked pretty close to flawless early.
They used quick passing combinations and kept Severna Park from pushing forward effectively early. Sophomore forward Bryan Lucero gave the Wildcats a 1-0, first-half lead.
But the Falcons (17-1) responded late in the first half with Miseker Wingate’s breakaway.
Though Northwestern continued to apply pressure to Severna Park’s defense, the Wildcats struggled to get shots off.
The Falcons went ahead, 2-1, in the 47th minute when Daniel Kwon’s breakaway forced a corner kick, which Tim Nelson headed in for the go-ahead goal.
“I think it just took a lot of patience and sticking to the plan. Northwestern is a great team with a bunch of great individual talents that we had to account for,” Severna Park coach Ryan Parisi said. “I think [Nelson] just went up for it and wanted it more.”
The Wildcats made several dangerous runs at the frame in the final 20 minutes, and controlled most of Saturday’s contest but could not convert.
“We had opportunities, we didn’t take them. They had one or two good chances and they scored,” Sammy Kahsai said. “We had a good season, but it was like, counties was Chapter 1, regionals was Chapter 2 and this was Chapter 3, we had some more to do.”
Severna Park 2, Northwestern
Severna Park (17-1) 1 1 — 2
Northwestern (13-3) 1 0 — 1
Severna Park — Misekar Wingate, Tim Nelson.
Northwestern — Bryan Lucero.