By Matt Cohen
This was not supposed to happen.
The B-CC Boys Soccer team entered the playoffs as the third seed in Maryland’s toughest section. B-CC was an afterthought to even reach the Section final. A Washington Post article ranking the boys soccer teams in the D.C. Metro area right at the start of the playoffs labeled the Barons as big underdogs, writing that it would take a major upset for Churchill and Whitman to not meet in the Section final.
Three weeks later, Liam Brocker scored against Severna Park with just under 90 seconds left in the game. B-CC was able to run off the rest of the clock. Despite all odds being against them, the Barons were State champions.
“People doubt us, we just go in there, and don’t doubt ourselves,” Brocker said.
With a 1-0 victory over Severna Park, the B-CC Boys Soccer team completed a storybook run to a championship. B-CC was the lower seed in every game except the first, but were undaunted by every opponent that they faced. In fact, the Barons didn’t allow a single goal to be scored against them in any of their playoff games. “Working together as a defense,” was the biggest key for the shutout streak according to starting goalie Bennett Schwartz. “It can’t just be one good player, you have to really work together.”
On Halloween, B-CC faced Whitman, the then number three ranked team by The Washington Post. As opposed to the game against Kennedy, B-CC got off to a very fast start against the Vikings. Brocker scored two first half goals, one off a header and the other on a fantastic long shot. B-CC went up 2-0 in the first half, and would play great defense the rest of the way to win the game by that score.
Next, B-CC faced number one seed, and then Washington Post number two ranked Churchill. Yet again an underdog, but yet again unfazed. Justin Anderson drove home a corner kick played into the box in the eighth minute, and Nathan Messer would add an insurance goal late in the game, as B-CC handed the Bulldogs a 2-0 defeat.
B-CC’s win over Churchill pushed the team into the Regional championship game. There, B-CC faced two seed Gaithersburg. Gaithersburg seemed to have the upper hand in the early minutes of the game, but B-CC would soon turn the momentum, and dominate the remainder of the game. B-CC won 3-0 behind goals from Jack Tchantchuing, Brocker and Anderson. The Barons had won the Region.
In the State semifinals, B-CC faced one seed Sherwood. The two were very evenly matched, but it was B-CC that broke through in the second half. Eli Sturm scored directly off of a free kick that took one bounce in the box, going just high enough to get over the goalie and into the net. Sherwood had a penalty kick in the game’s final 90 seconds, but the Warriors missed, and the Barons held on to advance to the State championship game.
After defeating Churchill, B-CC head coach Guillermo Melendez said, “It’s awesome! I love it, I love it!” said Barons head coach Guillermo Melendez. “I’m not ready to be done. All year long we talked about playing in November, and now we are talking about playing on the 18th of November.”
The 18th of November had arrived, and the Barons had a game to play.
At Loyola University’s Ridley Athletic Complex, the Barons faced o against Severna Park. In a run characterized by underdog status, it only seemed right that Severna Park be the opponent in the State title game. The Falcons spent much of the season ranked as the number one team by The Washington Post. After taking down two and three, it’s fitting that Barons get to go against number one with the State title on the line.
Despite Severna Park having the higher ranking, the two teams appeared very evenly matched. Each team had good scoring chances, but the two defensive units played very well to keep the game scoreless. Just past the midway point of the second half, a Baron foul set up a Severna Park penalty kick. The shot went to the bottom right corner, and Schwartz was able to make a diving save. Schwartz attributed the play to Hale Lieberman, who had given him advice based on film Lieberman had watched of Severna Park.
The game stayed locked at zero inside the final two minutes, it seemed that these two evenly matched teams were destined to go into overtime.
However, just under the two minute mark, Anderson received the ball along the far sideline from the stands. He dribbled forwards and through two defenders into the box. Once near the goal, Anderson tried to pass the ball into the middle, but it was deflected by the Severna Park goalie. The deflection went right to the feet of Brocker.
Brocker had an open look on goal, and he red the shot home. With 86 seconds to play, B-CC had a 1-0 lead.
After scoring the goal, Brocker ran with his teammates towards the B-CC student section, and celebrated with the roaring Barons faithful. Players on the field and the bench had hands on their heads, knowing they were just seconds from completing their ultimate goal.
The final seconds felt like an eternity, but when the clock hit 0:00, the Barons had won the State championship.
It was a storybook ending to a storybook playoff run. B-CC had beaten each of The Washington Post’s top three teams on the way to the 4A state title, the program’s first title since winning the 3A title in 2007.
Even more incredible, this journey was completed without a home field. “Everywhere we go, we’re just seen as the away team, as the underdogs,” Schwartz said. “Even more so in the playoffs when we were ranked lower than just about every team.”
This run to a title was an underdog journey for the ages. “The Catch” in 2012 where Jake Shapiro hauled in the game winning touchdown to beat Whitman, and “The Shot” from Yannick Alexis in the 2014-15 Boys Basketball State semifinal game to beat DuVal will live in B-CC sports lure. Liam Brocker just added a new installment to this list of thrilling moments: “The Goal”.
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