Perry Hall dismantles Dulaney

May 18, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

Somewhere between the opening faceoff and Dulaney's sixth extra-man goal of the game last week against Perry Hall, Gators coach Bill Dunkerton came to a painful yet obvious conclusion about his team's man-down defense.

"We needed to work on it," said Dunkerton.

Yesterday, in a rematch for the Class 3A-4A North Region championship, the problem was all but forgotten.

Host and 14th-ranked Perry Hall played tenacious defense throughout the game, limiting No. 15 Dulaney to just five shots in the first half and one extra-man goal for the game en route to a 10-4 win.

The Gators (12-3) advance to Saturday's Class 3A-4A state semifinals at UMBC, where they'll play for the right to go to their second straight state championship game.

But it couldn't have happened without inspired play from the defense.

"Our defense won the game for us," said attackman Nick Cowan, who along with Mike Faith (each with three goals and an assist) led an offense that kept the ball for most of the game but missed several easy chances to widen the lead.

With a defense that has allowed eight goals in its two playoff games, even an off-day on offense isn't enough to keep the team from a win.

"As long as the defense is playing like this, we know we can play with anybody," Cowan said.

Led by defensemen Ryan Pancake and Dave Augustyniak, Perry Hall took a 5-1 lead in the first half, outshooting the Lions, 23-5.

Said Dunkerton: "It's unheard of to hold [Dulaney] to one goal in a half. The guys on the defensive end did an incredible job.

"We worked hard on our defense all week, and today it paid off."

But there was something else that Perry Hall players say they learned from their team's 10-9 overtime win over Dulaney (10-4) early last week.

How to play with confidence.

"We learned we could beat a good team, and that put our confidence really up," said Cowan.

The Gators exuded confidence throughout yesterday's game, winning ground balls, making the good passes and doing all the little things necessary to beat a quality opponent.

"We had a lot of unsung heroes today who got ground balls and hustled on defense," said Dunkerton. "Dulaney would have scored a lot more goals if it wasn't for them."

Trailing 6-1 after three quarters, Dulaney rallied to cut the lead to 7-4, but could get no closer.

The Gators' effort left a lasting impression on Dulaney coach Gary Schrieber, who said that this was the Perry Hall team he'd expected to see all season.

"They're extremely talented," said Schrieber. "Everybody has been waiting all year for them to come together, but it looks like they've finally gotten there. "

Now it's off to the state semifinals for Perry Hall, where the Gators hope to make a return appearance in the Class 3A-4A title game.

Last year, they lost to Broadneck. This year, however, players think the storyline could be different.

"We're playing our best ball right now," said Cowan. "I think we can go all the way this time."

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