CUMBERLAND — Dakota Bierman took advantage of two big opportunities in the first half and Thyago Silva iced things with a goal in the final minutes to lift top-seeded Allegany to a 3-1 win over second-seeded Fort Hill in the Class 1A West Section I boys soccer championship.
Bierman scored twice and Silva had a goal and an assist on a warm, rainy evening at Greenway Avenue Stadium as the Campers earned a trip to their second straight region championship game. Allegany (13-3) will host the winner of tonight’s Brunswick/North Carroll game on Tuesday.
A win in the region final would send Allegany to the state tournament for the first time.
Allegany’s win gave them the season series against Fort Hill. The Campers beat the Sentinels 4-2 early in the season and the Sentinels won in the Homecoming game 12 days ago, 1-0.
Allegany coach Shawn Baker said the Homecoming game was still fresh on the minds of the his players.
“In the Homecoming game, Fort Hill came out with a lot of intensity and put pressure on us right away. That put a little fire under us. We came out and played extremely well tonight. The guys didn’t want to have that feeling again,’’ Baker said of the regular-season loss.
“It’s a rivalry game and you know it’s always going to be a good game. We were able to execute what we wanted to do. We worked a lot on putting the ball in the net.”
Prior to the section final, the Campers had scored only one goal and had been shut out two times in their last three games. Bierman put an end to both mini-streaks by scoring with 19:26 left in the first half and again with 1:29 on the clock.
The first came after Silva had worked free from several defenders with a couple of quick moves, then found Bierman in the center of the field. Bierman, after gaining control on a deflection, pounded the shot home.
The second came when Bierman hit a hard shot from about the 20-yard line. The wet ball took a quick skip off the turf, deflected off goalie Bradley Stotler and rolled into the goal. Tim Carpenter got an assist on the play.
“I thought we had the bulk of the possession for most of the game but we made some mistakes on defense that led to their first two goals,’’ said Fort Hill coach Jim Hott. “It’s not typical for us to make those mistakes. Allegany did a good job on the counter attack. We didn’t get back fast enough a few times.”
The Bierman/Silva combination proved difficult for the Sentinels to control in the first half. They combined for half of Allegany’s 12 shots on the night, and now share the team lead in goals with 10 each.
The production has been a key for the Campers, especially after Austin Campbell was lost for the season after breaking his leg during practice a while ago.
“Dakota and Thyago are very good at creating off each other,’’ Baker said. “And they showed that tonight against a good team in Fort Hill.”
Fort Hill had a better second half, gained some momentum and cut the score to 2-1 with 19:15 to go. A free kick deep into the penalty area by Tyler Michael led to a quick exchange and a goal by Daniel Hott, with Austin Farrell getting the assist.
Austin Parker’s hard low shot from about 25 yards out was corralled by Allegany goalie Nate Condor a few minutes later. The Sentinels added an extra offensive player late in the game, and Silva scored on a counter-attack, getting a free ball along the end line, beating a defender and goalie with 3:14 left to make it 3-1.
Although outshot 11-6, the Sentinels had several chances to score off free kicks but were able to take advantage of only one of them.
“Our back line has been solid all year,’’ Baker said. “With Nate (Condor), Brett (Vanderhout) and Kerrigan (Clark) back there, they make it hard for us to be scored on, and it showed again tonight.”
Clark cleared several balls from a crowded penalty area in the second half.
“We had some chances, and we’ve scored a lot of goals this year,” said Hott. “But sometimes we need to pull the trigger a little quicker, and I think that was the case a few times tonight.”
Allegany led in shots 11-6 and in corner kicks 4-2. Condor made five saves in goal for the Campers and Stotler had six for the Sentinels.
Fort Hill finished 11-4-1, a six-win improvement from last year’s 5-8-2. The four losses this year came to two teams, Allegany and Mountain Ridge.
“I’m happy with the season and with the turnaround we made from last year,’’ said Hott. “We’ve had a great season.”
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org