Down 1-0 to South River with only five minutes left to play on September 17, the Severna Park boys soccer team could have easily cited plenty positives even in a loss and chalked it all up as a learning experience on the road.
But no. The Falcons never relented the pressure that had kept them outplaying the Seahawks throughout the game, and their playmakers came through in the clutch. Severna Park scored two highlight-reel goals in five minutes, the second coming on a sensational leaping kick by Gordie Bernlohr that lifted the team to a miraculous 2-1 win in the game’s final second.
“It’s extremely important. It just came down to getting a win out of it,” said Bernlohr.
The Falcons had already done well merely to salvage a tie. The game was scoreless at halftime, and Severna Park held almost all of the possession through the first 10 minutes of the second half. But South River’s Bryce Wright scored on a counter attack on 54 minutes, pouncing on a pass by teammate Noah Cox and finishing at the bottom of the net to give the upstart Seahawks a 1-0 lead against the run of play.
South River admirably fought off Severna Park’s onslaught for a solid 20 minutes to try to come away with a win, but they could only take it so far. On 75 minutes, the Falcons earned a corner kick. Zach Plummer sent his out-swinger into the middle of the box, where Nate Carey jumped over everyone and sent a powerful header into the bottom left corner of the goal to tie the game:
GOAL 75th minute: Nate Carey scored on this Zach Plummer cross to bring Severna Park back level with South River 1-1. Still could get a winner here in the last few minutes... pic.twitter.com/NG4tHNa3jZ— SP Voice Sports (@SPVoiceSports) September 17, 2018
Play resumed with an immediate sense that the Falcons were not finished. They kept building up attacks without managing a clean look as South River frantically defended. After the clock stopped at two minutes and no one in the stadium knew exactly how much time was left other than the head referee, Severna Park earned a throw-in deep in their attacking third. Thomas Voisinet III sent a long throw to the front corner of the box, where it may or may not have glanced off the head of teammate Evan Blamphin. The ball skipped through a crowd and made it through to the other edge of the box, where Bernlohr came flying in to smash in the go-ahead score.
“I got lucky. A couple bounces in the box, and it fell right out to me,” said Bernlohr, who has six goals in five games. “I had to go for it, and I put it to the right of the goal keeper.”
Bernlohr got it in under the wire: the referee blew his whistle immediately after the goal, and the game was over—2-1 Severna Park.
For a Severna Park team that is 4-1 overall despite replacing almost its entire lineup, the win was a signal to the rest of the county: the Falcons may be young and learning, but they plan on winning along the way.
“The big thing for us is just being able to fight through the entire battle, especially in the second half,” said Carey, one of the team’s few seniors. “Especially facing the adversity of going down a goal, just staying strong and playing together.”
Braden Mondor had three saves for the Falcons, who are now 2-0 in county play with wins over South River and Arundel. Severna Park defeated the Wildcats on September 12 behind goals by Bernlohr and Bennett Jefferds and assists by Colin Wolfe and Plummer, as well as four saves by Mondor.
Severna Park hosts Meade in their home opener—the first-ever true home game for Severna Park’s seniors—on September 20.