Oakland Mills' boys soccer team looked to salvage a season gone sour when it visited Atholton for the Class 2A, South Region semifinal yesterday.
The Scorpions, once 4-0 and ranked No. 2 in the metro area by The Baltimore Sun, entered the game with one win in its previous seven starts and a 5-4-2 record.
But the playoffs presented a chance for redemption, and the Scorpions made the most of it by dominating the second half to score a 1-0 victory over the Raiders.
The Raiders (6-5-2) were beaten by an unlikely source -- senior right halfback Rob Severn. He settled a loose ball off his chest and sent a hard volley into the net in the 68th minute for his first goal of the year.
Severn and his teammates used a 2-1 overtime loss to Atholton last week as motivation to produce their most inspired game of the season.
"After we lost to them last week their parents talked a lot of trash to us and we were determined to beat them," Severn said.
After yesterday's victory the Oakland Mills players ran around the field in front of the Atholton cheering section and taunted the Raiders' fans as a payback.
"Some Atholton parents told our players after last week's loss that they stunk and that Oakland Mills' glory days were over," Scorpions coach Don Shea said.
A scoreless first half that neither team dominated was marked by one outstanding scoring chance for each.
Junior striker Damian Kapcala had Atholton's best opportunity in the 10th minute when he blasted a volley from 10 yards away that Oakland Mills goalkeeper Aaron Dane managed to catch with both arms stretched above his head.
And Oakland Mills' star striker, senior Teddy Lawler, got in close off a set play to kick one off the legs of charging goalkeeper Remington Stone midway through the half.
"We put an extra man out on defense to try and stop Lawler and we did a pretty good job," Atholton coach Reg Hahne said. "Kevin Pryse did a good defensive job for us."
Severn's game-winning shot was one of 16 second-half shots by Oakland Mills, which outshot Atholton 21-9 for the game.
"We couldn't clear our end zone," Hahne said. "I knew it would be a 0-0 or 1-0 game. Ted Zingman played a great game at outside midfield for us and our forwards did a good job."
Oakland Mills advanced to the South Region finals Saturday night at Howard High against Glenelg, which knocked the Scorpions out of the playoffs in the state semifinals last season. Glenelg was a 3-2 overtime winner against Lackey in its regional semifinal game Tuesday.
* Centennial 7, Poly 0: Matt Stephenson scored three goals and Brian West two, as No. 1 and second-seeded Centennial (8-1-1) easily defeated third-seeded Poly (6-3-1) in a Class 3A, East Region semifinal.
The win moved Centennial into the region final against fourth-seeded James M. Bennett (11-1-1), which advanced by downing No. 1 seed City, 3-0. The final will be played Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Howard High.