Oakland Mills rebuilds with speed

September 24, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

After graduating its top three scorers from a team that posted its second-worst record (6-5-2) in 17 years, the Oakland Mills boys soccer team wasn't expected to make much noise this season.

Don't look now, but the Scorpions are 3-0 after yesterday's 2-1 victory over No. 14 Gilman at Oakland Mills.

The Greyhounds (3-2) thought that this Oakland Mills team wouldn't resemble those that have won seven state championships, and Gilman was hoping that a victory over a Columbia school with a proud soccer history might boost respect for its soccer program. Gilman did not play a Columbia school last season.

But that hope never materialized. Oakland Mills had too much speed up top for Gilman.

Oakland Mills' chief threat was Zuri Barnes, whose speed frequently put pressure on Gilman's defense. Barnes had assists on both of Oakland Mills' goals.

Barnes' crossing pass to Jason Gotis in front of the net resulted in a goal 45 seconds into the game. It was Gotis' first goal this season.

Barnes forced Greyhounds goalkeeper Noah Gallico to make a diving save in the 13th minute.

And in the 15th minute, perhaps the turning point of the game occurred when Barnes' tackle of Gilman stopper Steve Burlingame resulted in a sprained ankle for the talented Gilman player.

Burlingame did not return until late in the game, and when he did it was at an outside fullback position.

Gilman tied the game in the 21st minute when Chris McLamb scored off a pass from Evan Kreitzer.

Gilman's defense, meanwhile, was preventing Oakland Mills from working the corners -- the Scorpions' favorite offensive strategy. Oakland Mills had just one throw-in the entire first half. Gilman's midfield also worked the ball well, taking pressure off its defense.

Oakland Mills missed on a couple of 10-yard shots from directly in front of the goal in the first half.

But in the second half, Oakland Mills took control and played its game, garnering 12 second-half throw-ins and three corner kicks. The Scorpions kept constant pressure on Gilman's defense.

And in the 45th minute the Greyhounds defense broke down. Senior striker Matt Sutton scored off a pass from Barnes.

Sutton knocked down stopper Adam Heaps -- the injured Burlingame's replacement -- and dribbled over him to goal. Sutton sent a shot inside the far post, beating Gallico. It was Sutton's first game-winning goal.

"I was sweating bullets for the rest of the second half after that goal," Sutton said. Gilman developed a couple of good scoring opportunities but failed to capitalize.

"Our midfield played great and kept their strikers at bay," Sutton said. "And both of our keepers played well."

Kyle Stephens and Aaron Dane split goalkeeping time for Oakland Mills.

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