DeMatha head coach Dafydd Evans walked down the sideline and found a substitute for junior midfielder Danny Brandt. He wanted to give the junior a breather, but an off-sides penalty forced Brandt to stay in the game.
The penalty proved to be especially costly for Gonzaga because moments later Brandt scored what proved to be the decisive goal as DeMatha completed its second consecutive perfect season and WCAC championship, beating Gonzaga 2-1 at the Maryland Soccer Complex Sunday night.
“To get this championship two years in a row is unbelievable,” junior forward Sean Cowdrey said.”
DeMatha has not lost a game since the 2009 WCAC title game when they fell to the Eagles.
The Stags used a first half onslaught to provide the cushion they needed to retain their championship. With just under 30 minutes to go in the first half, junior forward Chris Osei-Wusu raced down the right sideline and fed a cross pass in the box to Cowdrey who finished the play with a goal to put the Stags up 1-0.
“I saw Chris breakthrough really fast and come down the right wing,” Cowdrey said. I just sprinted-- I knew he was going to get the ball in. He got it in then I got it first time, left foot, top corner. It's probably the best goal I’ve ever had.”
Five minutes later the Stags struck again as junior midfielder Nick Haley dribbled the ball down the sideline and found the aforementioned Brandt in the box. Brandt put the ball in the back to give DeMatha a commanding 2-0 lead at halftime.
“I saw the ball was going down the corner,” Brandt said. “Me and Nick just connected and he hit it right to my foot. I was able to get it under control and put it in.”
In the second half Gonzaga began to press and attack the Stags defense. Their swarming effort drew enthusiasm from their fans that were whipped up into a frenzy. The crowd noise at one point was so loud that the officials were upset with it and accused them of cussing, when no foul language was being used.
The Eagles seemed to draw inspiration from their fans and junior midfielder Ian Harkes drove the ball into DeMatha’s box and was fouled hard to set up a penalty kick. The Eagles’ captain converted the freebee and cut DeMatha’s lead to 2-1 with 16:15 to play.
The Eagles were unable to breakthrough to tie the game as the Stags closed out the game with a strong defensive effort to preserve the 2-1 lead and win.
“We pressed and pressed well,” Gonzaga head coach Scott Waller said. “They are a good team, but I think we held with them in the second half. I’m proud of the way our guys played.”