Campbell Stunner Fires Falcons To County Championship


Down a man in overtime and battling to keep a dominant South River squad off the score sheet, Severna Park held on for dear life in search of one — just one — chance at the other end.

Early in the second extra period, the Falcons got that chance, and with it came the most golden of goals and the most raucous of celebrations.

After the Falcons won a free kick on a rare foray forward, senior winger Andrew Campbell tucked a 25-yard curling shot just inside the junction of the crossbar and right post, ending the game in the 93rd minute of play and handing Severna Park a 3-2 win to claim the county boys soccer championship.

As the ball nestled into the top-right corner of the goal, Campbell ripped his jersey off and twirled it in the air, sprinting to the Severna Park fans along with the rest of his teammates.

“My last county championship, it really feels so important,” Campbell said. “We knew it was going to be tough, and we were trying to get that chance because we knew that, down a man, you have to finish the chances you get. You have to have confidence in that situation, and I was able to hit it just the way I wanted to.”

Until that point, not a lot went the way Severna Park wanted to. South River frustrated the Falcons, and the Seahawks actually took the lead on a well-worked goal from Hunter Marsden. Even when the Falcons took the lead back, they still looked vulnerable. Nolan Grizzle intervened to deny a goal after South River forward Sean Ciminelli rounded Severna Park goalkeeper Matt Schisler late in the first half.

Things got more precarious when Grizzle was shown a red card for a bad challenge early in the second half, forcing Severna Park to defend the last 35 minutes of regulation with one fewer player. Initially the defense was stellar, denying South River anything but long-range shot attempts that were either wide or easily saved. But midway through the second half one of those shots hit a stray defending arm, resulting in a penalty kick that put the game back on level terms.

From there, it was largely one-way traffic with Severna Park keeping the score level with a combination of solid defending, stellar goalkeeping from Schisler, and a healthy dose of good fortune.

“Those kinds of games are so wild, and you know it’s going to happen to you eventually (as a goalkeeper),” said Schisler, who had 15 saves in net. “Once we got to the end of the second half, we just kept encouraging, that we had to give it everything. Yelling at the defense (over breakdowns) isn’t going to do anything in that situation; we all just had to stay positive and keep locked in.”

Despite having to absorb significant pressure for long stretches of the game, it was Severna Park that was locked in in the decisive moments.

South River failed to capitalize on five point-blank opportunities — one saved and four fired wide — any one of which would have ended the game prior to Campbell’s golden goal.

All three of the Falcons’ goals came from set pieces. Nate Parkison scored on a goalmouth scramble from a corner kick to level the match two minutes after South River had opened the scoring. Campbell struck shortly thereafter by being first to a long free kick that landed in the South River penalty area, then punctuated it with his free-kick screamer in extra time.

With the county championship now in tow, Severna Park turns to postseason play when it opens the region tournament this weekend against an undetermined semifinal opponent.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here