Boys soccer secures back-to-back state championships with 3–1 victory over Leonardtown Raiders

The+Vikes+pose+after+the+game+with+the+State+Championship+trophy.+The+team+defeated+the+Leonardtown+Raiders+to+secure+Whitman%27s+eleventh+boys+soccer+state+title.
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Boys soccer secures back-to-back state championships with 3–1 victory over Leonardtown Raiders

The Vikes pose after the game with the State Championship trophy. The team defeated the Leonardtown Raiders to secure Whitman's eleventh boys soccer state title.

The Vikes pose after the game with the State Championship trophy. The team defeated the Leonardtown Raiders to secure Whitman's eleventh boys soccer state title.

Photo courtesy Whitman Sports Twitter.

The Vikes pose after the game with the State Championship trophy. The team defeated the Leonardtown Raiders to secure Whitman's eleventh boys soccer state title.

Photo courtesy Whitman Sports Twitter.

Photo courtesy Whitman Sports Twitter.

The Vikes pose after the game with the State Championship trophy. The team defeated the Leonardtown Raiders to secure Whitman's eleventh boys soccer state title.

By Matt Mande

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The boys soccer team (17–1–1) beat the Leonardtown Raiders (19–1) 3–1 today to secure its second MPSSAA 4A State Championship in two years. 

Both teams started out jumpy, unable to consistently possess the ball. After the first 10 minutes, the Vikes settled in, beginning to pass and create opportunities. 

With 25 minutes left in the first half, midfielder Ian Poe lobbed a free-kick towards the Raiders’ goal. After multiple deflections, defender Hunter Lee managed to head the ball into the back of the net, giving the Vikes a one-goal lead. Nine minutes later, midfielder Aaron Gunther headed in another set-piece cross by Poe to bring the Vikes’ lead to two goals. 

The match evened out for the remainder of the half with scoring chances for both sides, but neither team was able to net a goal, leaving the score 2–0 going into the second half. 

“I thought we played really well in the first half,” coach Dave Greene said. “Once we settled in and started moving the ball around, I just thought we played brilliant.”

In the second half, the Vikes started to hold onto the ball again, yet were unable to create chances due to strong defense by the Raiders. With 27 minutes remaining, the Vikes netted their third free-kick goal of the match when Poe’s cross bounced over the keeper and into the net. With a 3–0 lead, the Vikes sat back defensively, locking down the Raiders’ offense. 

The Raiders, however, managed to score their lone goal of the match off a tap in by Kobe Harris with nine minutes left in the half. The Vikes remained composed and closed out the game with solid defense to claim back-to-back State Championships. 

“I’ve been on varsity for two years, and we’ve won both years,” Gunther said. “And it’s been the best time of my life.”

Gunther played great offense, attacking the Raiders’ defense and scoring the Vikes’ second goal. Poe also played a large role in the team’s victory, assisting one goal and scoring one. 

This victory marks 11 state titles for the Vikes, and seven for Greene, a feat unmatched by any other coach in the county. His last words about the match: “what a great way to finish.”

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