Fans had expected a close game Monday when the Howard and Atholton boys soccer teams, which tied with 4-4 regular season records, met for the Region 3, Class 3A semifinal.
But it turned out to be a lopsided contest, ending with a 4-0 score in Atholton's favor.
The Raiders, seeded second and playing at home, could do no wrong in the first half, when they tacked the four goals on thescoreboard.
Atholton advances to the regional championship tomorrow to play the winner of yesterday's game between top-seeded Centennial and fourth-seeded Linganore.
The first meeting between Atholton and Howard, on Oct. 15, ended in a tie after Howard rallied from a 2-0 deficit.
FOR THE RECORD - In Wednesday's Howard County Sun, the regular season records of the Howard and Atholton boys soccer teams were misstated. The teams tied, 4-4, when they met in league play. Howard and Atholton finished with regular-season overall records of 6-4-2.
On Monday, Atholton made sure it held on tothe early lead itbuilt.
"We were really pumped up for this one," said midfielder John Walter, who scored the first goal just six minutes into the game.
Walter capitalized when Howard goalie James Morrow was caught out of the goal following a shot. Raider Tony Dedmond gathered the rebound and passed to Walter, who kicked the ball into anopen net.
Dedmond scored Atholton's second goal 16 minutes later on an outstanding shot from 18 yards out in the center of the field. Dedmond gathered the rebound off a corner kick to nail his 16th goal of the season.
Four minutes later it was 3-0 when David Kelley's header off a throw-in by Dedmond found the upper left corner of the net. Kelley was wide open in the middle of the field.
Third-seeded Howard appeared to have a goal in the 30th minute off a kick by Chris Dodson, but it was revoked for an offsides infraction.
Kelley thenscored his second goal, another header off a throw-in, this time by Jeff May. By the 34th minute, it was 4-0.
"You have to give Howardcredit, because they never quit," Atholton coach Reg Hahne said. "Wethought the game would be much closer. Offensively, we've come on lately. And defensively, we played well."