Loch Raven looks for finishing kick State title on line vs. Oakland Mills Girls soccer

November 20, 1992|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Staff Writer

Oakland Mills has defeated last year's Class 2A-1A state champion Hammond in two of its past four victories, prompting some to dub the Scorpions the heir apparent.

But 11th-ranked Loch Raven, the third-ranked Scorpions' opponent in tomorrow's state championship game at Arundel High, can tell the Scorpions a little bit about destiny.

Loch Raven entered last year's semifinal against Wilde Lake with a 14-0 record, including a victory over Dulaney, last year's Class 4A-3A state runner-up, for the overall county championship.

The Raiders took a 2-0 lead against Wilde Lake before their dream season crashed to a halt. The Wildecats stole a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory and finished as state runner-up to Hammond.

"Until the very last two minutes of that game, we had not been behind against a team all year," said coach George Nellies, the assistant to head coach Lou Menegatti.

"We would always manage to score the first couple of goals and maintain or build on that lead over the course of every game."

But this year's Raiders had a much more modest beginning.

Loch Raven was humbled, 4-1, in its season opener against this year's Catholic League runner-up, John Carroll. And after a 3-2 victory over Mercy, the Raiders lost, 2-0, to McDonogh, last year's Catholic League runner-up.

The Raiders then established a four-game winning streak against county foes only to drop a 3-0 decision to Towson that eventually cost Loch Raven its 2A-1A county crown.

"We intentionally scheduled some tough teams early, knowing we'd maybe lose a few of them, with long-range goals to make us a better team," said Nellies.

"It gave us a chance to evaluate some things and make some assessments over about a six-week period. We made some personnel adjustments and we knew we'd have to try to build the team on what we were discovering at that point."

And while Towson sits at home, the Raiders (11-3) are aiming for a 2A-1A state title, facing one of the best teams Howard County has to offer in Oakland Mills (13-1-1).

The Raiders, who reached the playoffs for the third straight time, have allowed just two goals in their past six games.

Among those victories are four of Loch Raven's six shutouts, including a 1-0 victory over No. 13 Mount Hebron on a goal by sophomore midfielder Robyn Harry.

Senior sweeper Shelley Klaes leads a Raiders defense against a Scorpions squad that has outscored its opponents, 43-9.

She'll be facing a Scorpions offense led by Tyann Blissett (13 goals, 10 assists) and Tricia Witte (12 goals, eight assists).

Against the Scorpions, Harry (nine goals, nine assists), senior striker Michelle DeJuliis (18 goals, six assists) and midfielder Kim Allen (six, two) are up against a defense that has four straight shutouts.

Two of the Scorpions' eight shutouts have come against Hammond, which spent most of the season as the area's top-ranked team.

"We're ready, we've been working on doing a lot of passing othe ground; no more kick and run," said DeJuliis. "I think it'll be a pretty tough game, but I think the way we've been playing lately, we'll be able to take them."

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