Severna Park gains title game after winning on a shootout 4A boys soccer

November 13, 1993|By Steven Kivinski | Steven Kivinski,Contributing Writer

Severna Park boys soccer coach Don Gregg knows what it's like to lose a big game on penalty kicks.

In 1979, Gregg's Falcons were eliminated from the state playoffs when they lost a five-man shootout to Walt Whitman.

In an effort to avoid that happening again, Gregg has required his players to make three penalty kicks before they leave practice.

Last night at Arundel High, the extra kicks paid off, as second-seeded Severna Park defeated No. 3 seed Northwestern of Prince George's County, 6-2, in a shootout after the teams had played to a 1-1 tie in regulation, to advance to the Class 4A state championship.

The fifth-ranked Falcons (12-2) will meet the winner of the Dulaney-Winston Churchill game in next Saturday's state final at Old Mill.

"The team played with great heart and determination," said Gregg. "Northwestern had more basic speed and more overall skills than us, but we have a lot of good, solid players that did a great job with a lot of heart."

The Falcons, who advanced to the state tournament by upsetting top-seeded North County, 5-4, in double overtime for the East Region title, fell behind 1-0 in the 57th minute when senior Prince Peters scored after a crossing pass from junior Oscar Villatoro.

Severna Park got the break it needed in the game's 70th minute when Northwestern's Kanteah Peters was given a red card for an intentional handball violation inside the box.

Senior Matt Benewicz converted on the ensuing penalty kick to tie the game with less than 10 minutes left.

Neither team could score in the rest of regulation or the two 10-minute overtime periods, setting up a 10-man shootout.

In the shootout, the Falcons took a 4-0 lead on goals by Benewicz, Bryce Poland, Bob Habicht and Jon Holleran.

After missing a shot wide left, hitting a pole and seeing another shot smothered by Severna Park goalie Andy Sheehan (four saves), the Wildcats moved within three on a shot by Juan Martinez. But they would get no closer.

Bill Habicht and Kelly Harris made their shots for the Falcons, and Sheehan ended the suspense with a diving save on a shot by Mbombo Ntumba.

"Severna Park deserves all the credit for shutting us down and an offense that has done well in the last I don't know how many games," said Northwestern coach Tom Stickles, whose team outscored its opponents this season 39-13. "We played well enough to win, and we certainly didn't embarrass ourselves in the game."

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