Once again, past is prologue as Dulaney defeats Perry Hall

November 09, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Recent history bode well for Dulaney coach Craig Laferty entering yesterday's Class 4A North Regional championship soccer game against No. 6 Perry Hall at Patterson.

In each of the two previous seasons, his Lions had lost regular-season games to the Gators, but rebounded with regional title-game victories. So even though his team had lost the first meeting this season, 2-1, Laferty was hardly counting out his team.

But yesterday's 1-0 victory came in such unlikely fashion that as the whistle sounded ending the contest, an astonished Laferty did not immediately join his Lions (10-4) in celebration.

Instead, he sat alone on the team bench, staring at the ground and asking himself, "Do I believe this?"

The winning goal came with 1:54 left when senior sweeper Chris Conoscenti blasted in the rebound of a shot by John Shanahan that initially was blocked by keeper Bill Foos (12 saves).

It was the first goal of the season for the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Conoscenti, a senior whose luck has been so bad this year that he was one of the few Dulaney players who didn't score in a 14-0 blowout of Woodlawn.

"It wasn't even a good shot. I was really lucky," said Conoscenti. "It actually hit the keeper but I was fortunate that it trickled through."

Two years ago, Perry Hall coach Ed Wolf ended an eight-year drought against Dulaney and Laferty's four-year unbeaten streak against Baltimore County opponents with a 4-1 regular-season win.

It was the first time a Laferty-coached team had allowed four goals, but Dulaney ended Perry Hall's season in a penalty-kick shootout for the regional crown.

Last season, Perry Hall hammered Dulaney, 4-1, during the regular season before losing, 3-1, in the regional.

"I knew we had a chance because of history," Laferty said.

But Conoscenti was in position to be the hero only because of the fine work of Lions keeper John Bennett (16 saves), who recently replaced starter Jason Vaughn (who has mononucleosis).

Bennett withstood an early charge by the Gators' best, Brian Doherty (25 goals, 10 assists), Brandon Oliver (12, 13), Brian Nieberline (6,3) and defender Chris Ude (7, 5).

"They're bigger than us all over the field, with more skill, but Bennett dodged a couple of torpedoes," said Laferty. "They cracked some close ones, but didn't get too many quality balls inside the 18."

Laferty frustrated the Gators (13-2) with long-ball tactics, cramming the middle with midfielders Tommy Earp and Josh Soirez, a double-stopper unit of Darren Seibert and Panos Karamalakos, Jon Leberknight, Pat Botz and Conoscenti.

Perry Hall had the advantage in shots (20-16), its best chances coming early.

"We expected them to stack the middle, and if we forced it in there, they'd clear it and have us on the run again," said Wolf. "We executed, pressured well, kept passing and had it on the goal line twice in the first half. We just couldn't finish it into the goal mouth."

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