If you are being outplayed but manage to keep the score even, you must take advantage of any breaks that come your way.
Not that host Archbishop Spalding was given a ton of opportunities, but it failed to capitalize on the few it was given by Archbishop Curley and was edged, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference soccer tournament yesterday.
The third-seeded Friars (12-3-2 overall, 9-3-2 in MSA Division II) registered the game-winner just 1 minute, 58 seconds into the second half. Leading scorer Anthony Celenza (14 goalr, 15 assists) booted a crisp right-footer in the upper right corner of the goal.
Celenza had gathered in a clear by Cavs defender Todd Swann, whose header in front of a wide-open net earlier saved an attempt by Mike Libes. Wing Jim Virts began the play by running down an errant pass toward theright corner of the field and crossing it back into the center.
"Herk (Celenza's nickname) is the guy that makes things happen for us," said Curley coach Pat Percella. "The key for us today is that we won more balls than we usually do and everybody did a great job of hustling."
Archbishop Spalding coach Brad Rivera said, "That goal was not a fluke. If you don't mark No. 4, you're in trouble. He is a verypowerful kicker, on both sides. He is a very good player."
Celenza's goal seemed to take the starch out of second-seeded Spalding (9-6, 8-4 in MSA Division I), as the Friars began to gradually dominate play until the final 10 minutes of the game. They held a 15-8 shots advantage and took two corner kicks; the Cavaliers had none.
In the last five minutes of the first half, Spalding had two chances to jumpon top of the area's eighth-ranked team.
Striker Pat Mohr, who played despite having the flu, found himself one-on-one with goalie George Meyer (four saves) a couple of yards outside of the penalty box. But the Cavs' leading scorer (18 goals, six assists) bumped it too far in front of himself, allowing Meyer to take possession.
"I had my chances today, but I just couldn't find my rhythm," said Mohr. "When I got to the one ball, I went to trap it with my thigh, it just popped off of my knee. I started coming on toward the end, but it was too late I guess. Their defense was very physical."
About two minutes later, Mickey Wist gathered in a loose ball near the 18-yard mark and fired a low shot toward the left corner. Meyer deflected the ball,causing it to bounce off the left post and back into his arms.
"We were not lucky," said Rivera. "We had two really good chances. Pat mishandled the ball, and near the end of the game (Vic Minick) shot too high. Those were two really good chances, and there's nothing you can do."
Minick's attempt would turn out to be the host's last hope. The lanky midfielder misfired on a centering pass by Mohr, sendingit high over the crossbar.
"They had a nice team, a really nice team," said Percella of the 16th-ranked Cavs. "We didn't play them during the regular season, but we had heard that they had a real good defense, a very fast attacker (Mohr), and a good midfield. And everything I heard turned out to be true.
"I think we let them off the hook after the goal. If we could have gotten that second goal right away, things would have been different. But you saw it, it could have been anybody's game."