Sep 20, 2018
by Brock Kugler
Conditions on the field were less than optimal, but nonetheless the teams started the game passionately. The game opened up quickly, with shots from both teams occurring in turn within 5 minutes. Through the opening 10 minutes, the Hawks were able to keep up a strong offensive. A key penalty against the HCC Hawks shook up the flow of the game at 31:00 left in the first half, but the Hawks soon regained their stride, controlling the ball. The flow of the game led the Hawks to face an early corner kick, but without losing momentum, the Hawks were able to clear out the ball and regain composure. The sudden acceleration of the pace of the game did them well, allowing them to capitalize on a beautiful cross from Jason Medrano to Logan Woodruff and score the first goal of the game at 18:00. The next 5 minutes became very defensive for the Hawks, featuring a key save from HCC's very own Yusupha Fofana. The Hawks looked for a way to go on the offensive; however, with the clock ticking past 30 minutes and with tension rising due tue a sudden increase in penalties, both teams desperately fought for control of the game. A critical indirect free kick at 33 minutes from The Dragons highlighted the HCC Hawks goalie, Yusupha Fofana's abilities as he cleared the ball himself in the fray. The pace of play slowed a bit at the 10 minute mark before halftime. Excitement soon broke out in the crowd as the HCC Hawks pressured the goal, only to be stopped by offside calls. This was visually frustrating for the Hawks but never for a second did it temper their passion to win. The Hawks kept the offensive flow and kept the pressure up as the game approached 40 minutes. Soon shots on goal were being taken and the crowd was on the edge of their seats for the very fast pace finale of the first half. The Dragons were able to keep their composure however, and force the ball into the Hawks territory in a exhilarating turn of events. As the shots on Fofana began, the defense was tested but ultimately stood strong, leaving the score at 1-0 favoring the Hawks at the half.
Within no time at all it seemed, the second half was underway, Hawks leading 1-0. The Hawks were able to keep a strong offensive opener, but soon the Dragons were able to briefly convert them to defense. As the clock broke 40:00 the Hawks were back on offense looking for opportunities with indirect free kicks. With the help of a save from the Dragons goalie the game was thrown into a state of flux. The pace of the game slowed down down but only briefly as the Dragons went on the offensive once again. After a very close call -- a goal on the Hawks being called back because of an offside penalty -- the Hawks put the ball on the Dragons' side of the field for the first time in 5 minutes. This was short lived as the onslaught from the Howard Community college Dragons continued. The clock then ticked past 64:30 and a very close to the goal free kick put the fans, again, on the edges of their seats. Eventually the unrelenting pressure from the Dragons caused a opening, which led to a quick goal from the Dragons #10 J. Garcia Monterrosa at the 66 minute mark. Unfazed the Hawks kept up an aggressive mindset and fought for the ball, defender Jordi Velazquez after the game saying, "We had to grab that ball out of the back of the net and get right back to it".
As the clock approached 70 minutes the Dragons were able to keep control of the ball, trying to once again form insurmountable pressure. To the surprise of everyone present, the Hawks found a fast break just when all seemed lost. The ball flew up the field towards the Dragons goal, inspiring the fans to cheer as hard as they could. Diosaya Sanon sprinted down field and at the soonest availability found his teammate Herber Cruz -- who while carrying the hopes of his team and his fans on his shoulders -- delivered the game winning score. The Dragons fought for redemption in the final minutes of the game but ultimately couldn't overtake the Hawks, giving way to a final score of 2-1 and the Hawks victory.
After the game head coach CJ Trammell showed the very exitement and pride that he spoke about when asked about the game, "Conference games are always tough, but the guys worked hard, as you can see from their jerseys". The win on Friday the 14th marked the fall of a very good team coming off a 14-6-1 season which earned them success in the NJCAA Division III national tournament. "It says a lot about our guys just to be resilient, work together for 90 minutes and win the game.", words from Trammell that confirm what we all can see; this will be a great season for our very own Hagerstown Hawks.