Centennial beats elements, wins shootout to top T. Stone Wind, rain reduce game to penalty kick contest

3A boys soccer

November 12, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Not even wind gusting up to 70 mph and torrents of rain could derail Centennial's quest for a second straight state championship last night at Catonsville Community College.

But the Eagles needed a shootout to beat Thomas Stone in the Class 3A state semifinals, 1-0. It was their 30th straight victory.

The impossible weather conditions helped underdog Thomas Stone (15-2) take the top-ranked Eagles farther than any other team has this season. This was the only time Centennial (16-0) has gone to overtime.

In the shootout the Eagles received a clutch performance from goalkeeper Christian Lewis, who blocked two of Thomas Stone's nine shots. Thomas Stone missed two others to lose the shootout, 8-5.

It was Centennial's 13th shutout and its most difficult game.

"We dodged a hurricane," Centennial midfielder Cory Piette said. "I've never played in worse conditions."

Centennial's Brian West thought that the weather was a great equalizer.

"It made us both look like average teams," he said. "You couldn't move sideways or dribble around anyone. You couldn't judge where the ball was. It came down to practice at penalty kicks."

"We practiced penalty kicks all week just in case," Centennial coach Bill Stara said. "There was no soccer played out there tonight because of the weather conditions, which were the worst I've ever played in. All it was was kickball."

Thomas Stone coach Tom Parker, whose team had won 15 straight games, thought his team and not the weather was responsible for the close score.

"I've coached for 20 years and this was our finest effort," he said. "If Centennial is the No. 4 team in the nation then I thought we did well for some country boys."

Thomas Stone had the wind at its back in the first half when it outshot Centennial, 5-3. Two direct kicks from 25 yards were the most dangerous plays.

Centennial outshot the Cougars 14-1 in the second half and 7-2 in overtime, but couldn't find the net.

Thomas Stone had the best chance of the game, a one-on-one with 6:50 left in regulation. But the shot was a little high.

Cougar's goalkeeper Chris Stark kept his team in the game with 10 saves -- several of them difficult.

Centennial took 12 corner kicks to three for Thomas Stone.

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