Working around the clock

Roos, Campbell double their pleasure at State Cup finals

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

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david s. spence⁄the gazette
Julio Arjona of the Potomac Cougars tries to settle the ball during the U-15 boys final of the Maryland State Cup Tournament Sunday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds. The Cougars fell short, losing in penalties to SAC United, but a total of eight county-based clubs won titles.

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david s. spence⁄the gazette
Pablo Castaneda (right) and the Potomac Cougars fell short in the U-15 boys State Cup final Sunday, but they’re still bound for the Region I Tournament.

Brad Roos at the Maryland State Cup tournament is like a rabbit’s foot in Las Vegas. For leading the Bethesda Eclipse U-18 girls to the state title late Sunday afternoon, Roos received a handshake and a plaque from Maryland State Youth Soccer Association president Ben Neil for the second time that day and the 30th in his career, all with the Bethesda Soccer Club.

‘‘It means a lot to me,” Roos said of the milestone. ‘‘The thing is, we train and get ready the whole year for this competition, so we can go to regionals. So many other teams have had a letdown, or maybe a close game goes the other way, and so it’s just been a tribute to our kids that they are able to get up for every single game every single year.”

Roos said no team he has coached has lost a game in the State Cup Tournament for at least 15 years. That includes the U-15 Blast girls, which beat MSC Santos, 5-0, in the day’s first game. It includes the Eclipse, who beat Bethesda clubmates Phoenix, 3-0, to win their seventh State Cup in the afternoon. It also includes Roos’ former charges, the Fury, the only team in State Cup history to run the table from U-12 through U-19, the mark for which the Eclipse will aim next year.

Roos wasn’t the only Bethesda coach to win both ends of an a.m.-p.m. doubleheader Sunday — Steve Campbell turned the trick, as well. In the morning, he coached the U-19 Excel girls to an easy, 12-0 win over the Damascus Fillies. The Excel, consisting entirely of college players, reunited for one last run after falling just short at the last two U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

‘‘It’s only been a few weeks now, but it’s been so great to see everyone and we’re so excited for the summer,” Bethesda-Chevy Chase graduate Natasha Mann said. ‘‘I guess these first few weeks are about gelling together again and working on our fitness.”

Campbell took the team over this year from Dave Nolan, who is focusing on other commitments this year. Nolan was on hand Sunday, though, for the Excel’s win. Other than Nolan, every single member of last year’s team is back; midfielder Hayley Siegel is still at college, but will return to the team in mid-June, in plenty of time for the Region I Tournament.

The Excel players know Campbell well, in part because they both went to the 2004 nationals; Campbell with the Bethesda United boys. Sunday afternoon, United kept its hopes of a second nationals appearance in three years alive by beating the arch-rival Baltimore Bays, 3-0, in the U-17 final.

‘‘We’ve had a great season, and I felt we played an inspired game today,” Campbell said. ‘‘We played with everything we had. I’m delighted. ... The goal is to go win regionals.”

Campbell and Roos accounted for four of Bethesda’s seven titles Sunday. The U-17 girls championship game, like the U-17 boys, matched Bethesda against Baltimore; again, Bethesda came out on top of their rivals. The Extreme took it to the Bays in a hard-fought, physical game, coming away with a 2-0 win that coach Dave Greene said could have been even more.

‘‘What we tried to do was match what they do, which is to be physical as well, not back down, so to speak, and with all things given, our technical ability should have been the difference,” Greene said. ‘‘And I thought it was.”

Bethesda’s U-16 girls, the Rapids, topped the Freestate Shooters, 2-0, in a rematch of last year’s U-15 final. With the Rapids win, Bethesda swept the five oldest girls groups, 15-19, and all five teams successfully defended the titles they had won last summer.

Bethesda’s seventh title came from the U-14 Road Runners boys. The Road Runners topped Inter Bethesda, 2-0, in one of two all-Bethesda finals Sunday.

‘‘[Inter coach] Pete [Mehlert] does his thing, I do mine, and we train at two different fields,” Road Runners coach Desmond Armstrong said. ‘‘It’s almost, really, as if we’re competitors as opposed to being within the same club. It’s good for Bethesda that both teams made it to the final, but in terms of club cohesion, there is none.”

Of the nine Bethesda teams to reach Sunday’s finals, seven won championships. The two that didn’t lost to other teams from Bethesda.

It was not such a good day for other county clubs, which went 0-4 in Sunday’s final round. The runners-up included the U-15 Potomac Cougars boys, which went to the national championships last summer. The Cougars allowed a first-half goal to SAC United before equalizing early in the second half. The game remained tied all the way to penalty kicks, where SAC’s substitute goalkeeper made three saves to hand the Cougars their first loss since February.

‘‘They’re a direct team, and we’re not,” Cougars coach Bryan Davis said. ‘‘And all of a sudden, we’re playing their game. When you play good teams, you can’t fall into their trap. That’s why we win so often, is because we dictate the flow and pace. And we didn’t dictate today, that was the problem.”

Despite the loss, the Cougars will advance to the Region I Tournament by virtue of winning the Region I League championship this spring. Sunday, they also earned a bizarre, if unwanted distinction — out of all the age groups, boys and girls, the Cougars were the only beaten finalist to score a goal. Every other state runner-up was shut out in the championship game.

Maryland State Cup finals results
U-12 boys: TSC 1, Baltimore Bays 0
U-12 girls: Baltimore Bays 4, Severna Park Dynamites 0
U-13 boys: Potomac Cougars 4, Olney Pumas 0
U-13 girls: Laurel United 1, Baltimore Bays 0
U-14 boys: Bethesda Road Runners 2, Inter Bethesda 0
U-14 girls: Calvert Hornets 1, Baltimore Shakedowns 0
U-15 boys: SAC United 2, Potomac Cougars 1 (4-1 in PKs)
U-15 girls: Bethesda Blast 5, MSC Santos 0 U-16 boys: Casa Mia Bays 1, Potomac Cougars 0
U-16 girls: Bethesda Rapids 2, Freestate Shooters 0
U-17 boys: Bethesda United 3, Baltimore Bays 0
U-17 girls: Bethesda Extreme 2, Baltimore Bays 0
U-18 boys: Casa Mia Bays 1, Baltimore Bays 0
U-18 girls: Bethesda Eclipse 3, Bethesda Phoenix 0
U-19 girls: Bethesda Excel 12, Damascus Fillies 0
Potomac also lost the U-16 boys final, 1-0 to the Casa Mia Bays. The Cougars did get one championship, but not on Sunday. The U-13 boys defended their title, 4-0 over the Olney Pumas, last Wednesday in a game rescheduled so the Cougars could participate in a tournament in France.

The state champions, plus the Cougars and any other wildcards, advance to the Region I Tournament, June 29-July 4 at the Hampton Roads Soccer Complex in Virginia Beach, Va. Regional champions in the U-14 through U-19 age groups will go on to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships, July 25-30 at the James W. Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines, Iowa.

Note: The U-19 boys tournament only reached the semifinal stage Sunday. The Baltimore Bays and BSU Lightning will face off for the title at a time to be determined.