The Eastern Tech boys soccer team used a second-half outburst from Dillon Nesteruk to defeat Sparrows Point for its fourth regional title in six years.
The Mavericks beat the Pointers 3-1 on Oct. 29 at CCBC Dundalk, as Nesteruk squeezed a hat trick into the last 34 minutes of the game.
Seeded fifth in the Class 2A state quarterfinals, Eastern Tech (12-2) lost at fourth-seeded LaPlata (13-2) 4-0 on Saturday.
LaPlata was to play top-seeded Parkside (15-0) in the state semifinals, with the winner facing either second-seeded Oakdale (11-0-3) or sixth-seeded Century (13-3) for the Class 2A state title.
It was an abrupt end for Eastern Tech, the 2017 state champion, which seemed primed for a good run after handling a talented and experienced Sparrows Point squad.
The two teams were locked in a scoreless tie until Nesteruk fired in the eventual winning goal with 33:58 left in the game.
We didn’t want this to be our last game,” Nesteruk said of the Mavericks’ mood after the scoreless first half. “It could have been So we raised our intensity level and increased the pressure.
“I put myself in the right position to score.”
On a counterattack, Matt Davis fed the ball upfield to Nesteruk.
“Matt gave me a good through ball,” Nesteruk said. “I made my move quick and put it in the top right corner.”
Another Nesteruk goal made it 2-0, then he collaborated with Davis again for a pretty much insurmountable 3-0 lead with 5:49 left to play.
“My partner-in-crime, Matt, decided to slot the ball to me in the middle, give me the hat trick,” Nesteruk said.
Sparrows Point converted a penalty kick in the final minutes.
Before,all that, however, Sparrows Point had a chance to tie the game at 1-1.
Maverick goalkeeper Taylor Spivey tried to stop a crossing pass, fell, and was lying flat on his side with a Pointer right in front of the goal with the ball.
Somehow, the shot sailed over the crossbar.
“I didn’t even see the shot,” Spivey said. “Adrenalin took over. I went down, saw the ball in front of me, and just held up my hand as a last resort.
“I felt the ball hit my wrist, then heard it hit off the football goalpost crossbar.”
The unlikely save seemed to deflate the Pointers, and Nesteruk made it 2-0 shortly afterward.
“Sometimes we overthink tings, and that changes the complexion of the game,” Maverick coach Pete Glaudemans said of his thinking entering the second half. “We were in a close game with a very tough team, so we decided to stick with what we had; we did not buckle, we stuck with our game plan.
“We talked about playing together for a common goal, to not try to be a difference-maker by themselves.”
The game was also the 101st victory by Eastern Tech with assistant coach Andy Corbett.
“Our success is strongly associated with his decision to come back for another year,” Glaudemans said.