Dulaney enjoys unlikely scenario

November 18, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

The score was tied at 1 in last Friday's boys 4A state semifinal against Bowie when Dulaney soccer coach Craig Laferty signaled for striker Damon Holmes to come off the bench.

Because of his asthma, Holmes, a speedy transfer from Owings Mills, plays an average of only five minutes a game. So the muscular junior had to act quickly.

Three minutes had elapsed before teammate Mike Mainquist's throw-in slipped past Bowie's defense and found Holmes standing six yards from the goal.

Holmes, with his back to the goal, scored for only the fourth time of the year on a bicycle kick.

"It was just there, and my feet just took over," said Holmes, who secured the Lions' first trip to the 4A state final in 19 years.

"It was definitely the most special goal that I've scored, and it just came at the right time."

The Lions had trailed, 1-0, at halftime before Darren Seibert tied the game on a 20-yarder four minutes into the second half.

"It was kind of a half-volley," said Seibert, a midfielder with 10 goals and five assists. "Coach said we needed to score early, and when we did, I think we took them out of their game."

But Bowie was awarded a penalty kick with 12 minutes to play.

Dulaney keeper Jay Vaughn braced himself for a shot that never arrived: The Bowie player shanked it high and wide right.

The game is symbolic of the success that has come in unusual fashion for the 15th-ranked Lions (11-4), especially after beginning the season 1-3 and being outscored 11-2 in those losses.

"We got a slow start out of the shoots, but I can't say enough about how well the kids have rebounded," said Laferty, in his sixth year at Dulaney. "We've had two games in a row now where we've got some nice bounces and had an unlikely finisher."

The first came when senior sweeper Chris Conoscenti scored his first goal of the year with 1:54 left to lift the Lions to a 1-0 victory over Perry Hall in the North region title game.

The victory, which included reserve goalie John Bennett's 16-save effort as a substitute for ailing starter Vaughn, came less than two weeks after a 2-1 loss to the Gators had ended Dulaney's eight-game winning streak.

"I think the kids really grew after taking our lumps early and we just knew we had a shot at Perry Hall," said Laferty, who has a 87-18-7 career record, including 21-5-2 in two years at Towson.

"The kids have a good understanding of their shortcomings and they've committed themselves to getting better."

Dulaney's luck hasn't been very good against Churchill, its opponent in Saturday night's 4A state championship at Old Mill.

The two-time state champion Bulldogs (15-1), ranked No. 3 by The Washington Post, have won 47 of their last 48 games.

Twice in the past four years, Dulaney has lost state semifinal matches to Churchill -- by 2-0 in 1991 and by 4-0 last year.

This year's Bulldogs boast senior striker Gheran King, who has 30 goals and 12 assists over two seasons and is a member of the Eastern Regional Olympic Developmental pool.

Laferty, seeking his second state title since Towson was a 3A co-champ with Sherwood in 1986, will need another big game from Conoscenti and offensive surges from Seibert, Mainquist (12 goals, six assists) and junior striker Booth Farwell (nine, seven).

"I watched [Churchill] play their semifinal [a 4-1 win over Chesapeake-AA], and they've got terrific skills and speed," Laferty said. "We'll have our work cut out for us, but at this level, sometimes all it takes is that one good bounce."

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