Centennial hands Hebron 4-0 setback First league loss is Vikings' first shutout

October 17, 1995|By RICK BELZ | RICK BELZ,SUN STAFF

The game started out as a county championship match with both Centennial and Mount Hebron unbeaten in league competition.

But when it was over, top-ranked Centennial (10-0 overall, 5-0 league) remained the only unbeaten county team and visiting Mount Hebron (6-3-1, 4-1) was on the short end of a 4-0 score. It was the first time this season that the Vikings were shut out.

pTC For the Eagles, it was their eighth shutout and their 24th straight victory. They've outscored the opposition, 34-3, and are ranked 10th in the country by USA Today.

"You have to be healthy, good and lucky to beat a team like Centennial," Mount Hebron coach Scott Conroy said. "They're tough.

The No. 8 Vikings were neither healthy nor lucky.

They were missing a top defender, Brian Picker, because of a hamstring muscle that he pulled last Friday.

"We would have had him marking Matt Stephenson," Conroy said.

And then Jason Reese, who was marking Brian West, left the game with a sprained ankle shortly before Centennial scored its second goal.

It was West (nine goals, 12 assists) who assisted on that goal. He made a strong move across the middle and volleyed a shot off diving goalkeeper Tom Wunk. Scott Johnson (three goals, four assists) volleyed the loose ball into the net for an easy goal in the 40th minute.

"I was just sitting on the 6-yard line," Johnson said.

Stephenson (six goals, four assists) scored Centennial's first goal in the 22nd minute off a corner kick from the left-footed Johnson. Stephenson cut around the pack in front of the net and was wide open at the near post. It was an instance in which Mount Hebron was unlucky.

"I was lucky," said Stephenson. "The ball went off my toe and went backward around my body and inside the near post."

"They were tough defensively. They gave us a lot of space and made us make a move. The wind was at our back and helped me in the first half," Stephenson said.

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