Few people outside Broadneck High School envisioned the Bruins’ boys soccer team contending for county supremacy this season. Meade’s talented team began the season with buzz as strong contenders in the county and 4A East.
Yet as October closed, it was the Bruins (13-2) who shut out Meade 3-0 to win the regular-season race for first before doubling down and defeating Meade (11-3-1) on penalties, 2-2 (4-2) at Chesapeake High School on October 23 to win the 2018 Anne Arundel County championship.
“They did an outstanding job competitively,” said Broadneck coach Sean Tettemer, who said the Bruins have been building toward a season like this. “These guys have been together for a while, and I’m very close with this group from top to bottom. We took a lot of lumps last year, and we did it together. We fought through it and tried to do the best we could. This year, we’re seeing the dividends.”
Broadneck’s strong season kept rising with its county-title victory over a fast and physical Meade team at Chesapeake. The Mustangs’ Evan Marx finished a pass from Silas Baker on 15 minutes to give his side an early 1-0 lead, but Broadneck’s Ethan Romito hit right back with a goal less than a minute later to tie the game at 1-1. Broadneck’s Tyler Madairy scored off an assist by Romito on 34 minutes to make it a 2-1 halftime advantage for the Bruins.
Meade’s scoring corps struck back in the second half. Tosin Ayokunle one-timed a beautiful cross from Erick Anariba on 55 minutes to level the game at 2-2.
Anyone who complains of scoreless stretches in soccer would have had a hard time holding their stance while watching the last 35 minutes of the game and two overtime periods, when the teams tore up and down the field and one-upped each other with incisive passing sequences and defensive playmaking. Meade goalkeeper Shane Steele stonewalled consecutive sure-fire goals by Broadneck, saving shots by Madairy and Reilly Joyce.
At the other end, Broadneck’s John Vaaler made five saves in the second half and OT, while the back line of Joyce, Joey Orofino, Aaron Lawrence and John Robillard furiously cleared their lines with an array of soaring headers and on-the-spot interventions.
Still tied 2-2 after two overtime periods, the teams went to penalties. Romito sank his kick to open, and Vaaler seized the momentum by saving Ayokunle’s attempt. After penalty scores by Broadneck freshman Mikey Johnson and Madairy and a Meade make and miss, Ethan Loftis stepped to the spot with a chance to clinch the crown.
He buried his shot, setting off a celebration for the Bruins.
The Bruins shut out Meade 3-0 just five days earlier on October 18 to clinch the regular-season county championship behind two goals by Johnson, both assisted by Sebastian Radovic, as well as seven saves by Vaaler and three by Fred Hill. Broadneck has relished the competition with Meade. The boys showed respect for their opposition in what was a great show for family and fans.
“I think Meade’s a really great team, and this game in particular really gets us in the mindset going into playoffs, because I know we’re really going to play a lot of teams like Meade and everyone’s going to want to win, and I think this game is great to get our minds straight for that,” said Vaaler.
Romito was steely in comments, crediting the team and turning attention to the mission of the 4A East playoffs.
“I think our whole team played well. We all have a piece in this game and each game. Both [wins] against Meade, we all had to come into it together,” said Romito. “We have to come out in the first game of the playoffs on fire, because you can go home at any point. Obviously as seniors, we don’t want to do that.”
The Bruins and Mustangs could meet in the 4A East final on November 6. Both teams have first-round byes. Meade has Severna Park in its section. The Bruins would have to travel to Leonardtown on November 2 for the section final.
Vaaler said the Bruins are of the same mind.
“Everyone knows what’s up,” he said. “We’re all hungry, and we all have something to prove, and I think we’re going to do it this year.”