For two years, Fallston striker Shane Dougherty has baffled defenses.
A member of the regional Olympic Development team, Dougherty hasall the right moves in front of the goal. In Tuesday night's 2-0 victory over Joppatowne, Dougherty showed off one of his best.
He scored his second goal of the night on a side volley, a sideways version of the over-the-head scissors kick. On a perfectly placed pass from Rob D'Angelo, Dougherty soared in the air and rifled the ball past Mariners goalie Brian Ward.
"A lot of people can do that with one foot on the ground, but Shane really gets up in the air," said Fallston coach Len Petrey.
Dougherty's goal left Joppatowne coach Tom Dove shaking his head. "That second goal, that's almost indefensible. How can you stop something like that?"
Nobody in the countyhas been able to stop the Cougars (10-2 overall, 7-0 league).
They finished off an undefeated league season with Tuesday night's victory. Fallston had already clinched the county title when it beat C. Milton Wright, 4-0, on Oct. 18.
Even though they already had the title, the Cougars still were determined to beat archrival Joppatowne.
"It was important for us to win this one just for bragging rights,"said Dougherty. "It was obviously important to them to try to upset us."
In a very physical game -- with a lot of words exchanged on the field -- the Mariners (8-3, 4-3) stayed with Fallston early on.
Strong defense, especially from Brandon Majerus and Tim Miller, pushed the ball up as the Mariners challenged the Fallston defense.
Joppatowne outshot the Cougars, 11-9, in the first half although most of the Mariners' shots were in the first 20 minutes.
"Our typical start is slow," said Petrey. "For the first 10 minutes, we kind of letthe other team come back and take a couple of shots at us. Usually, we hold up pretty well under that pressure. It's almost like a 10-minute warm-up period."
The Cougars broke out of their warm-ups to pressure Joppatowne for much of the final 30 minutes of the half.
With short passes into the holes, the Cougars moved downfield quickly. The Mariners' defenders not only had to watch out for Dougherty, but they couldn't forget about Tom Gould (15 goals, 9 assists).
With about 2 minutes, 35 seconds left in the half, Gould got the ball clearin the midfield and pushed it up to Dougherty, who put Fallston on the scoreboard. Dougherty took the pass, accelerated by a defender andshot one-on-one past Ward (14 saves).
Fallston continued to dominate in the second half, although Joppatowne had several good opportunities to score. Strong Cougars defense, especially from All-State sweeper Chris Eatough and fullback D'Angelo, shut down the Mariners and their talented striker Andrew Swentzel.
Dougherty's second goal came with 12:35 left in the second half.
Fallston keeper Steve Chaires (13 saves) preserved the lead late in the game. The veteran swatted away a well-placed Joppatowne direct kick that almost slipped into the net over his head.
The Cougars are probably not finished with Joppatowne for the year. The two may meet again in this week's Class 1A regional playoffs. (Regional seedings will not be announced until today.)
"It's not good to play a good team twice in a row," said Petrey. "I expect the same type of game, a hard-played game. We'll tryto short pass like we did (Tuesday). If we can keep the ball down and short pass through their backs we're gonna get some chances. It's just a question of whether we can finish or not."