Centennial survives 'upset weekend'

November 06, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun Staff Writer

Before last night's 2-0 win over Thomas Johnson, No. 5 Centennial worried about ending up as the latest casualty in the upset-filled regional playoffs.

The Eagles knew that both defending champs, No. 2 Dulaney and No. 3 Loch Raven, as well as No. 6 South River already had fallen to teams they fully expected to beat.

"It was upset weekend, so we were a little nervous," said Eagles co-coach Kevin Flynn.

"I read the paper and I saw what happened to South River and Dulaney and Loch Raven. When you have a name and teams come after you, you've got to be ready every day."

Last night, the Eagles (15-0) were ready for the physical Patriots (10-3-1) with superb defense from sweeper Tania Riismandel as well as Gina Dinisio, Tiffany Cronin and Sarah Bartholomew.

Tuesday, Centennial will return to the site of last night's game, South Carroll, at 7 p.m. for the Class 3A-4A West region championship. The Eagles will play Linganore, a 1-0 winner over Howard in the other semifinal.

Last night, once the Eagles got going, their passing game proved no match for the Patriots.

"We were really working together," said Lauren Molinaro, the Eagles midfield catalyst.

"Talking had a lot to do with it, and we gave it up early. It was one-touch, two-touch balls."

That tremendous passing set Michelle Clare up for the first goal.

Jen Coulson recovered the ball from three Patriots defenders on the side and dropped it back to Melissa Schreibstein, who passed to Clare.

"I trapped it," said Clare, who leads the Eagles with 19 goals. "I saw [the defender] on the outside so I went into the center. The goalie came out and that's when I shot."

"Michelle has consistently scored the big goal or the first goal in the big games," said Eagles co-coach Dave Greenberg.

Schreibstein added an unassisted insurance goal midway through the second half.

The Eagles outshot the Patriots, 18-8, and their crisp passing set up many more scoring opportunities than Thomas Johnson managed.

The Patriots pushed the ball up well but could not finish. They missed their golden opportunity after Eagles keeper Rima Sidhu collided with a Patriots player midway through the first half.

As Sidhu went down, Patriots striker Karin Treese chipped the ball over the keeper's head but her shot hit the side post. The Eagles defense held off a second wave with Sidhu, who left the game briefly, still down.

With four minutes left in the game, Sidhu preserved the shutout, blocking a close-range shot after the Patriots again booted one off the side post.

BIn the other semifinal, Linganore took only two second-half shots, but the first would have been enough.

Christi Polansky scored the game-winner on a direct kick from about 40 yards away in the 64th minute. The ball slipped just under the crossbar out of reach of Howard keeper Elissa Sheffrin.

"I was praying it was going to go over and it didn't," said Sheffrin. "All I could think after the kick was there had to have been something I could have done to get up a little more."

But Howard coach Dave Vezzi could not fault his keeper. "Not many goalies could save that. A perfectly placed goal. Tough way to end a season," he said.

The Lancers (9-4-1) relied on the long ball, often from sweeper Polansky, to keep the Lions (6-6-2) off balance the entire game.

"They were playing a totally different game with us. We don't know that," said Lions defender Katie Kile. "In Howard County, you see the passing game."

Linganore packed in its defense, frustrating the Lions and keeping them from moving the ball into the middle. Howard outshot the Lancers, 7-5, but continued to struggle with putting the ball away.

The Lancers defense held off a couple of threats from striker Sara Nunnally in the second half. Polansky snuffed a Nunnally shot in the first minute and Lancers keeper Erin Bradshaw made a point-blank save midway through the half.

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