By Patrick Coonan
Bel Air, Md. – It took Daigo Adachi and the Knights just 16 minutes to tally their first goal yesterday against Harford in an NJCAA Region XX Division I Tournament semifinal match in route to a 7-1 victory.
The Knights (15-3) move on in search of an eighth straight regional title and play its sibling campus CCBC Catonsville in the championship on Saturday at host Harford Community College. Kickoff is currently scheduled for 3 p.m.
Adachi's opening goal was assisted by Seth Onolaja (Loyola Blakefield) who dropped a pass back to the Miyagi, Japan native. Adachi drove it low into the corner for the early 1-0 lead.
In the 25th minute, Sam Adunah (Gar-Field Senior) slipped through the Harford defense and beat the goalie with a near post shot on the break.
CCBC Essex's next goal came a minute later when Adunah fed Andy Portillo (Laurel) the ball and he finished for his second goal of the season.
The Knights controlled the pace of play for the next 15 minutes, keeping the Fighting Owls (8-11) on their heels.
Onolaja would capture his second assist of the day in the 41st minute, when he played the ball across to Marvin Martinez (Parkdale) who converted.
With five seconds remaining in the first half, Harford would found light.
Wyatt Moran played a corner that Robel Bistrat headed home to cut the deficit to three at 4-1 heading into halftime.
The Knights came out hot in the second half.
Adachi tallied his second goal of the game with a header off a corner kick by Martinez.
With eight minutes left in regulation, Rezon Ahmeti (London, England) scored off a free kick to make it 6-1.
In the 86th minute, Axa Hernandez (Bladensburg) capped the scoring with his first collegiate goal, assited by Ferdis Melgar (Bowie).
"We started slow as we usually do," head coach Joe Fiedler said. "But then we came through and played pretty well throughout the remainder of the game."
The seven-time defending Region XX Division I champion Knights will play CCBC Catonsville on Saturday. The last meeting between the two teams – October 1 – ended with CCBC Essex winning a 2-0.
The winner of the Region XX Division I Championship advances to the NJCAA East District semifinals. District champions earn an automatic bid to the NJCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship Tournament in Tyler, Texas.