Centennial dominates Atholton

November 09, 1995|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

At the end of the first half yesterday, Atholton was treated to a rousing ovation from the fans behind the team bench. And rightly so.

The Raiders had held No. 1 Centennial scoreless in the first half, only the third time that has happened this season.

But then they played the second half.

And Centennial wasn't scoreless anymore.

The Eagles got goals from five players, the first from Matt Stephenson 2:10 into the half, and won, 5-0, to capture the class 3A East Region title.

Centennial will play the winner of the McDonough-Thomas Stone game in a state semifinal Saturday at Catonsville Community College.

The game started with a numbing wind, snow flurries and Centennial taking absolute control. But thanks to a few shots that went wide, a couple of shots that bounced off the crossbar and some solid defense from goalie Andy Walter and Sam Salganik, Nate Luman, Brent Hooper and Paul Barnes, Atholton (7-6-1) kept the game scoreless.

The Eagles outshot Atholton 9-1 in the first half. In fact, Randy Greenbaum's shot for Atholton, which came with five minutes left and never reached goalie Christian Lewis, was the Raiders' only scoring attempt.

"We played all right [in the first half]," said Centennial's Brian West, who scored his team's third goal. "We didn't play as good as we could have played."

Fifteen minutes into the game, Centennial coach Bill Stara told his players from the sideline: "Come on fellas, you're fine. You just have to get the first one."

Stara was right. After Stephenson scored early in the second half, the Eagles (15-0) kept the ball at the Atholton end most of the game. The Eagles took 17 shots in the second half, and finally made it 2-0 with 19 minutes left on Cort Yetso's goal.

"It was just a matter of time," Stara said. "As long as they don't get frustrated, they're fine."

No one from Centennial apparently felt frustrated.

"We just weren't finishing in the first half," said Stephenson. "No one was really concerned. We basically knew that we could put some in. Nothing had to be changed."

Atholton coach Reg Hanhe was very pleased with his team's performance, not only for yesterday's showing but the entire season.

"I'm pleased that we made it to the regional final," said Hanhe. "No one thought we do that his year. It's a good way to end the season."

"We played really well," said Walter. "We never gave up."

Centennial, which also got goals from Andrew Peverly and Marcus Lages, now will try to win its second straight state title and fourth in the last five years. The Eagles have 12 shutouts this season and now have won 28 straight.

"They're a great team," said Salganik.

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