Glenelg's newcomers have cast magical spell State title on line against Rockville

November 19, 1992|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

They call themselves the Dream Team, and with good reason.

When the Glenelg boys soccer team (12-2-1) faces unbeaten Rockville (13-0-2) in the Class 2A state final at noon Saturday, it will be the first time a Glenelg soccer team has played for a state title.

What's more amazing, this is the first season a Glenelg boys soccer team has even made the playoffs or had a winning record.

"It's been a magical year," said Glenelg coach John Bouman. "We're living the dream."

The most talented Glenelg team in history was put together with a combination of transfers and players groomed through the Western Howard Youth Program.

Senior midfielder and leading scorer Scott Cline transferred to Glenelg from Georgia his freshman year. Senior striker Dan Gaertner came from Laurel High and senior sweeper Keever Frye from Howard High in their sophomore years. Senior fullback Tom Hobbs moved in this season from California.

"We thought we could get this far, and we're thrilled to do it," Bouman said. "We think we have a talented team."

To win the title, the Gladiators must find a way to score against a Rockville defense that has been scored on only once all season.

The defending Class 2A state co-champion Rams have a 19-game unbeaten streak and are ranked No. 6 in the D.C. area by The Washington Post. Glenelg is ranked ninth by the Post and fourth by The Sun.

"Defense is definitely their strength," Bouman said. "They have a great goalie [C. J. Norton] and are strong in the air."

Glenelg hopes to keep the ball on the ground, attack the wings, get a few good crosses and score from about 10 yards out.

"You've got to get in close to score on Norton," Bouman said. "He's a regional team goalkeeper."

Bouman has a regional team goalkeeper of his own in Russell Payne, a field leader who recently started wearing contact lenses, a change that has improved his play.

Led by Frye, Hobbs and marking back Jamie Brinker, Glenelg has a defense that has given up only 14 goals. Glenelg has seven shutouts and has yielded more than one goal in a game only three times.

Glenelg's offense is potent. It has scored 54 goals and never has been shut out. The Gladiators have scored more than one goal 11 times in 15 games. They are led by Cline, Renard Brown and Gaertner.

Bouman credits a 4-1 loss to Centennial on Oct. 30 for getting his team to the final.

"We didn't handle the pressure against Centennial but learned from our mistakes and matured in one week," Bouman said. "That loss was the best thing that could have happened to us."

Glenelg beat seven-time state champion Oakland Mills, 2-1, in the state semifinals.

Rockville beat North Harford, 2-0, to reach the state final.

The Rams and their coach, Larry Nuzzaci, won state titles in 1981, 1983, 1984, 1988 and 1991.

Class 2A final

Date: Saturday

Time: Noon

Site: Old Mill High

Records: Glenelg, 12-2-1; Rockville, 13-0-2

Key: Rockville's defense has been scored on in only one game this season. Glenelg must attack the wings, kick crosses and try to score from within the 10-yard line.

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