Wright slips past Franklin, 1-0

November 09, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

For the past several games, C. Milton Wright goalie Tim Hilyard has been nursing an injured elbow that sometimes makes him lose the feeling in his fingers.

But in last night's Class 3A North regional final against Franklin, none of that seemed to matter.

Hilyard came up big, using acrobatics to swat away three otherwise certain goals to help the No. 13 Mustangs preserve a 1-0 victory over the No. 14 Indians at Hereford High School.

The win puts C. Milton Wright (11-1-4) in the Class 3A semifinals for the first time since 1987. After having drawn tough teams in the opening round for the past six years -- and losing there each of those years -- coach Paul Snyder said he was ecstatic to make it this far.

"Our kids worked hard to get to this point," said Snyder, who added that this year's open tournament -- where teams were seeded randomly -- played a big role in the Mustangs' success. "I'm in love with the open tournament. I always said that if we had the chance to win that, we'd do it."

But it wouldn't have happened last night without Hilyard.

With C. Milton Wright leading, 1-0, after the first half -- courtesy of Joe Davis' diving header after a nifty steal and cross by teammate Jeff Smith -- Franklin (12-2) moved an extra striker up front and began pelting the Mustangs' goal with shots.

"I was getting tired out there," said Hilyard, who made four saves on the night but handled the ball on a regular basis in the second half. "The ball kept going from one corner to the other."

Three times he saved tough chances that otherwise would have resulted in Franklin goals.

Near the end of the first half, he leaped high in the air to tap Gene Balbir's high-arching shot just over the crossbar. Then, in the second half, he made two diving saves, including one on a bullet of a shot by Brad Plotkin.

"He played a really nice game out there," said Franklin coach Larry Meekins, who moved as many as eight players to offense in the game's final minutes.

"We had heard that their keeper really hadn't been challenged, but when he was, he was able to meet the test."

C. Milton Wright took the lead with just over four minutes left in the first half. Smith started the play by cleanly stealing the ball from Pabs Thongsy 35 yards out.

He then dribbled down the near sideline and lined a pass in front of the goal, where Davis met it with a diving header to make it 1-0.

But the other hero of the night was Hilyard.

"It was luck, I guess," said the goalie, who has allowed two goals in his team's four playoff games, "but I'll take it."

* Hereford 3, North East-Cecil 2: Mike Blevins, James Walchuck and Matt Sauders each scored as No. 15 Hereford (13-1-1) downed North East (10-5) in the 1A North region championship game at Elkton.

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