One Harford County boys soccer team will advance to the state final four -- Fallston or Joppatowne.
After winning their first-round regional playoff games Wednesday, the two were to meet last night for the Class 1A Region III crown. The winner goes on to next weekend's state semifinals.
Fallston, which went to the state finals in Class 2A last year, was the No. 1 seed. The Cougars (11-2) routed No. 4 Kent, 8-0, in Wednesday's regional opener. No. 3 Joppatowne (9-3-1) edged second-seededand previously unbeaten Perryville, 1-0.
C. Milton Wright also qualified for the regional playoffs, but the Mustangs dropped their first-round game in Class 3A.
For Fallston, ranked No. 6 by The Sun, Todd Paradise scored the first goal 22 seconds into the game. The Cougars dominated the entire contest and piled up their second-highest scoring total of the year.
Tom Gould scored three goals for the Harford County champs. Shane Dougherty had two while Paradise, Mark Torba and Pete Dixon added one each.
Dougherty also had two assists while Gould, Marc Riedlbauer, Rob D'Angelo, Chris Luber, Steve Schissler and Ryan Sapp had one each.
In the other semifinal, Joppatowne had a much tougher battle in its second meeting with Perryville in a week. On Oct. 24, the Mariners battled Perryville (9-1-2) to a 3-3 tiein double overtime.
Early in Wednesday's game, it appeared the outcome might be the same. Perryville dominated early, but the Marinersevened things up. Nobody scored in the first half.
Five minutes into the second half, Andrew Swentzel gave the Mariners the lead, assisted by Tim Miller on an indirect kick.
Joppatowne keeper Brian Ward tallied 16 saves. Brandon Majerus led the defense.
Earlier in the season, Fallston topped Joppatowne, 2-0. Dougherty scored both goals, and Joppatowne coach Tom Dove said he would try again to keep Dougherty under wraps with Miller dogging him.
"Anybody that plays that team knows you have to mark Dougherty," said Dove. "We'll just take our fastest person and play on him and hope the rest of the team holds up."
C. Milton Wright (9-4) dropped its first round game to Dundalk, 1-0, in Class 3A, Region II. But Coach Paul Snyder said the Mustangs played their best game of the year.
"We got off some great shots, but we couldn't put it in the net. That's the story of our whole season," said Snyder, whose team is ranked No. 18 by The Sun.
"We rely on one kid to do the scoring. We haven't been able to get theball in the net on dynamic situations. It's almost always on restarts."
Rodney Bralich scored the lone goal in seven 1-0 games for theMustangs. He managed some strong shots against the Dundalk defense but got none past the Dundalk keeper, who recorded 16 saves.
Juniormidfielder Ryan Strasburg controlled the midfield and pushed the ball up to the offense. Freshman stopper Matt Youngerman led the Mustangs on defense by shutting down Dundalk's top striker.
Joe Reinhardthad nine saves for the Mustangs. He even had his hand on the shot that scored, but it went through his legs into the nets. "That was probably the worst shot of the game that scored," said Snyder.
Still, Snyder said his team should be happy with the way they ended their season. "I was really excited, because I thought we played extremely well. Sometimes you play well and you just don't win, but when you playthat well, you should walk off the field and feel good about what happened."