New Year Same Goal
A Glimpse At States With Ricky Cicmanec
February 24, 2023
Perennial powerhouse is a phrase that could be used to describe Brunswick Soccer in the past few years. Winning a state championship is extremely difficult one time and as the 2022 season approached we knew we had a target on our back to defend our title. It took determination and hardwork from September to November. We had a lot of experience from the amount of quality players returning for the 2022 season. Talent was not an issue for this team. Although the coaching staff needed each and every one of us to train at 100% and nothing less to accomplish this goal. As a player this season’s preseason was very long and difficult and had me contemplating quitting several times but I had to stay resilient.
When the season began we started to understand that since we won states last year we would get everyone’s best shot in beating us. We tied a Mountain Ridge side and lost 3-1 to Liberty, a team that had beaten 3A state champions Tuscarora later in the year. Our coaches explained that these results were surely not good enough if we wanted to be back to where we were last season.
For the first time ever Brunswick Soccer won back to back state championships and its fifth in total.
Our focus in training for the next couple weeks was defending and winning balls out of the air. We could move the ball well and create opportunities but where we got beat was defending long throw ins and set pieces. Determined and focused we won our next 10 matches and went into the playoffs exactly the way we wanted. As a team we were only improving and getting better everyday and MPSSA had us ranked as the number one team in the state before the playoffs had begun.
Coach Shawn let everyone know that the rest of the games would be on turf and that makes a huge difference with how we like to play. Moving the ball fast and connecting through the midfield to use our speed up top to score. We first played Williamsport, the 4 seed, winning comfortably 5-0. The next game was the regional championship vs Clear Spring who was the 2 seed. We played them earlier in the year and won a close match 2-1. We knew that this game would be scrappy and they would be looking for revenge. We started the game very possessive and looking to attack from the start. We took chances early and put shots on frame yet the keeper for Clear Spring was strong and kept his net empty early. That was until around the 20th minute when sophomore, Noah Pascalides, played an exquisite ball to defender, Marvin Vasquez Molinas, a sophomore, foot to open the scoring at 1-0. This allowed us to play more freely and we gave us a spark going into the rest of the match.
Logan Malone and Ryan Domathoti, senior forwards, had a goal apiece and as we finished the match 3-0. We recaptured our regional championship and everyone was ecstatic as this meant we entered the state tournament again. Although we were happy, the hard work continued in practice the next week as we knew that this regional championship wasn’t the only trophy we wanted this year. Our next game was against South Caroll and for the third game in a row we would play at Othello Park in front of our home crowd. We knew this would be a physical and heated game as the last two times we played them there was a scuffle involving the players which ultimately led to cards.
We started the game off on the front foot playing fast paced and feeding off the energy from the crowd. Although we were creating finishing opportunities none could fall at the start. That was until around the 17th minute when senior forward, Logan Malone, scored a brilliant goal dribbling around the keep and finishing on an open net. Keeping our foot on the gas, a second goal was then scored by senior, Ricky Cicmanec, just before half. We all thought that we would go into the second half with a 2-0 lead but the feeling was altered when a penalty inside the box was whistled. Although it was a questionable referee decision we needed Finn McGannon, our senior goalkeeper, to step up big in saving this penalty to ensure a much needed two goal lead into halftime. As the South Carroll player stepped up to take the kick McGannon guessed right and threw a strong right hand to keep them scoreless going into the half.
We picked up in the second half just where we left off and built off the momentum in the first half. Will Burton, senior midfielder, scored a rocket of a full volley in the last ten minutes to secure a 3-0 win and a spot in the state semifinals. The semi final was scheduled at Linganore High School which meant it would feel like a home game which would give us a big advantage. Going into the match we did not know what to expect playing a Perryville side that we have never played before. Our coaches were extremely impressed with our clean sheet through three games but needed it to continue into our next match. We started this match very slow and much different then our first three games. We could not break their defensive lines but knew we were a much better team. Our breakthrough came from a perfectly weighted ball from Ryan Domathoti to sophomore Chase Malone who tucked the ball in the bottom corner brilliantly. This game continued on with little chances for Perryville while we created a lot and just couldn’t find our second. The game finished 1-0 but we knew we wanted more from this result and needed to be better for our second state final in two years. We would play against Fallston High School, a team who we faced last year to win the state championship.
The feeling this year changed though, we were determined to win and the nerves were different this year knowing that we played on this stage before. It was a sunny day at Loyola University with the stands filling as the match was about to begin. Conceding no goals in the playoffs was a huge accomplishment for us but that changed when Fallston opened the scoring early in the first half. We stayed composed and knew that there was a lot of game left to go so no one panicked. This goal was definitely a wake up call for us as we began to move the ball smoothly and had multiple scoring opportunities early in the match. Noah Pascalides whipped a ball in a perfectly weighted cross to Marvin Vasquez Molina who smashed it in the top corner with his head to tie the game at 1-1. We continued to put on pressure and realized that this Fallston team was much weaker than last year. The tempo shifted our way when Ricky Cicmanec played a ball, breaking the defensive line to Will Burton who took a great first touch and slotted it into the bottom corner making the game 2-1. Going into the half we were confident but wanted to keep the momentum to recapture a state championship. Playing more defensive this half Fallston had most of the possession and began to take their chances early and often. We defended well through 30 minutes but it was too much as they leveled the game at 2-2 on a set piece giving them the energy going into the overtime period. “Deja vu” was a phrase that the Frederick News Post used to describe this match. Going into the overtime period we were disappointed in letting them come back into this game. The rule to overtime was a golden goal meaning whoever scored first—won the match. We started the overtime on the front foot and within the first minute link up play between Domathoti, Malone and Burton got the ball inside the penalty. Will Burton riggled through the defense and played a ball to Malone who scored on an empty net to win the State Championship.
Not only had we accomplished winning two state championships back to back it was the same way we won both overtime periods which made it ten times sweeter. The hardwork and perseverance that people don’t see throughout the year finally paid off. For the first time ever Brunswick Soccer won back to back state championships and its fifth in total. This team had built chemistry over the years playing with each other since we were very young.
It was always a dream to win a state championship but to do it with my best friends who I had been playing with for so long was—incredible.