Fallston on title fast track Middletown looks to slow Cougars in 2A soccer final

November 19, 1993|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,Staff Writer

Contrasting styles have resulted in different scoring totals, but it still figures to be strength against strength when Fallston and Middletown play for the state Class 2A boys soccer championship tomorrow at noon at Old Mill High School.

For the second year in a row, Fallston (14-0-1, 19 successive non-losing games) has run roughshod over its playoff opposition, beating Loch Raven, 4-0; Towson, 6-0; and Glenelg, 4-0. In winning the Class 1A title a year ago, the goals margin was 27-2.

Middletown comes in having played a series of tense, hard-fought contests. It won in overtime and played a scoreless tie in its last two regular-season games, then went through three playoff foes, beating Rockville (1992 co-champion with Glenelg), 3-2 in overtime; Liberty, 2-0, and Parkside, 1-0, on a penalty kick.

"I believe those close games have been the bonus in helping us get to the final," said Middletown coach Bob Sheffler. "Those kinds of games bring out the character in a team, helps them believe in themselves.

"For instance, Rockville tied the game with three seconds left in regulation, but we came right back to get the winning goal early in the first overtime."

"We like the short passing game, working our way up the field, and we have two players who can finish -- striker Matt DeOrsey [28 goals, seven assists] and midfielder Peter Medd [16 goals, 12 assists]." Goalkeeper Jeff Lowe has allowed five goals in nine games.

Fallston coach Len Petrey, who has the Cougars in the state playoffs for the fourth straight year, also reflected on getting his players to believe in themselves.

It certainly is a different kind of team than a year ago, when the players watched All-American Shane Dougherty finish off offensive plays with goals.

"Actually, we had a lot of good players last year, but they were overshadowed by Shane," Petrey said. "They let him take the all the pressure. This season, the players needed to develop a confidence in going to the goal, and a willingness to take a shot.

"We needed to get them to work -- to make good decisions on whether to shoot or pass. Over the season, Mike Giuffrida [28 goals] became a battler, and if he gets the ball inside the 18, he'll finish it. Kevin Morgan [26 goals, including five in the playoffs] is smoother and more patient in accomplishing the same thing.

"Among the others, Brian Benner came out of nowhere with a school-record 17 assists, and Freddy Sheckells and Dave Peterson have adjusted in the middle -- we had to get them to believe their roles were important."

Fallston likes the short passing game, but against Glenelg, the situation was there for the long ball and the players turned it into an offensive weapon.

This is a team that has scored in bunches for a total of 74 in 15 games. And, since beating Loyola, 1-0, in the opener, the team has not scored fewer than three in any game.

"It will come down to who is stronger and able to dictate style," Sheffler said.

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