Only three days after it had rallied from a 4-0 deficit to upend Northern 5-4 in double overtime, the La Plata High School boys soccer team proved unable to dig out of an early hole en route to suffering a 5-0 setback to visiting Leonardtown on Friday evening.
Leonardtown coaches and players may have been aware of La Plata's epic rally to upend Northern on Tuesday, but the Raiders hardly seemed phased by the Warriors after gaining the early advantage. Matt Jarvis scored the first goal for Leonardtown just over five minutes into the contest and accounted for its last goal as well to cap the shutout in the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference crossover contest.
"We knew what they had done the other night against Northern," said Leonardtown head coach Robert Hor, whose team has outscored its four opponents 17-1 this fall. "At halftime we talked about not letting up and the guys came out and played extremely well. I thought our success on set pieces was a big key."
La Plata head coach Chris Butler had been mildly impressed with his players' ability to rally from the four-goal deficit to prevail against Northern, but amid the lopsided affair against Leonardtown he could only see flashes of brilliance amongst the chaos.
"The other night I took out the starters, or the supposed starters, and then we came back," Butler said. "But tonight all 23 guys got the chance to play. They all went out and played with a lot of energy. But it was more like 'helter skelter' than running an offense."
Leonardtown's attack, however, was anything but chaotic in any sense. Jarvis scored the Raiders' first goal of the game roughly six minutes in and the visitors extended the lead to 2-0 roughly 10 minutes later when Kobe Harris scored off an assist from Luke Walsh. The Raiders then forged a 3-0 lead before the intermission when Luke Duwalt scored off a corner kick sent in by Harris.
"At halftime we kept reminding our guys that they could not relax just because it was 3-0," Hor said. "We had to keep running our attack and looking for ways to score off set pieces."
Leonardtown (4-0 overall) began the second half with the same intensity that it ended the first. Following a free kick by Koko Tin that sailed just high of the target, the Raiders pushed the lead to 4-0 when Walsh netted his lone tally of the evening. La Plata's ability to rally from a second 4-0 deficit in a 72-hour span never had a serious chance of materializing versus Leonardtown.
As Butler indicated, La Plata (1-2-1) maintained its energy and enthusiasm over the next 20 minutes although the Warriors' "helter skelter" approach failed to offer more than a handful of serious attacks against Raiders sophomore goalkeeper J.R. Gawal. His counterpart, La Plata goalie Nick Meadows, stayed busy even though the Raiders owned a comfortable lead.
As time wound down in the second half, Leonardtown mounted several more attacks, and Jarvis notched his second goal of the outing with just over seven minutes to play. The Raiders nearly added another goal two minutes later when another Harris corner kick was swatted away by Meadows.
"We don't work a lot on set plays because I like to see the guys work together out in the field," Butler said. "We definitely had a little trouble defending set pieces tonight, so that's something we'll have to work on. But overall, I liked the energy and effort. Everyone went put and played fast."
The Raiders are scheduled to host Thomas Stone at 4:30 p.m. today, while La Plata is slated to travel to Great Mills for a 6 p.m. contest Thursday.