When Frederick’s Staley Burgos scored the first goal of the match at the 11-minute, 54-second mark on Saturday in the Golden Mile Classic at Frederick High, it was a familiar feeling for the Tuscarora’s boys soccer team.
The Titans have made an uncomfortable habit of surrendering the first goal in matches this season. Wresting momentum from a tough rival would prove to be a challenge, but that’s exactly what they accomplished in what turned out to be a 5-2 victory.
Less than minute after Burgos’ goal, Titans senior defender Jack Lillis scored an unassisted goal from 20 yards out. And three minutes later, Tuscarora’s Tyler Sims banged in a shot from close range for the lead.
Frederick tied the match at the 17:20 mark when Kenny Estrada scored on an assist from Dalton Shifflett. A minute later, though, Lillis scored again on an assist from Nicky Wolcott. After that, the Titans rolled to victory.
“I believe we’ve given up the first goal in every match, except one, that we’ve played this year, and a lot of games over the last two years,” Tuscarora coach Todd Knepper said. “So for our boys to bounce back as quickly as they did was very impressive. It says a lot about our confidence coming into tonight’s game. To pull it back twice after giving up two goals says a lot about this team.”
Even when Frederick (3-2-1, 1-0 CMC Spires) took that initial lead, then regained it with a second goal so quickly, there was no sense of panic among the Titans.
“I felt like, before we went down 1-0, we had almost all of the play, and the boys saw we had some chances,” Knepper said. “Once we capitalized on our first set piece, we knew we could score quite often if we could just keep working the ball and getting it behind the defense. We had a lot of success with that.”
Lillis took it upon himself to motivate his team.
“I knew I had to rally the crew,” Lillis said. “I’m the captain of the team. I’ve got to bring the guys together, come back at it when they scored. I told the guys we’ve been in this situation before and we could bounce back.”
Tuscarora (2-1, 1-0) took a 4-2 lead into halftime, thanks to a breakaway goal by junior striker Andrew Delauter, who took a throughball pass down the right sideline, outran his defender, cut back on an angle toward the goal and fired a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal.
Roger Diaz scored Tuscarora’s final goal on an assist from Wolcott nine minutes into the second half.
“They did a good job getting the ball wide, using their space out in the wide areas,” Frederick coach Jarron Brooks said. “They probably worked on set pieces in practice this week. That’s a credit to them, getting those goals off of their wide play.”
Goalkeeper Miguel Jacome had six saves for Tuscarora.
Andrew Layman and Tyler Federer combined for eight saves for Frederick.
Saturday’s match was delayed for one hour due to lightning early in the second half.