Loch Raven cruises into final, 4-0 Championship game will be Raiders' first since 1993

November 10, 1996|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Loch Raven made its game plan obvious. But Urbana couldn't come close to stopping it.

The Raiders curled corner kicks, lifted indirect kicks and tossed throw-ins all across the mouth of the goal. And No. 3 Loch Raven converted early and often on those chances in the first half, coasting to a 4-0 victory over Urbana in a Class 2A-1A state semifinal game at Lansdowne High School yesterday.

Loch Raven (16-1), which has won 16 straight, faces Hammond in its first state final since 1993. That year, the Raiders also met the Bears in the state championship game, winning to become Baltimore County's first girls state champions.

"We came in ready for this one," Loch Raven midfielder Jennifer Graleski said. "We just decided that we were going to play a good passing game, and we followed it through."

That focus proved vital early as the Raiders scored two goals on their first three shots in a span of four minutes.

On its first possession of the game, Loch Raven's Nicole Froman lined a perfectly placed throw-in a few yards from the goal. Erica O'Donnell then tapped it to Ashley Froman, who slammed the ball into the goal for a 1-0 lead 30 seconds into the game.

Just a little over three minutes later, Nicole Wartman stuck back from a close range a rebound shot off a corner kick to boost the Raiders to a 2-0 advantage.

Loch Raven waited until the final five minutes of the first half to strike again.

With 4: 45 left before halftime, Susan Giannacini headed in a long throw-in by Nicole Froman. Then Wartman scored off a crossing pass from Graleski among a cluster in front of the goal with less than two minutes left for a 4-0 halftime lead.

"The girls were up the whole week for this game," said coach Anthony Menegatti, who is 29-4-1 in two years at Loch Raven. "When we pass the ball, we're a real good team."

Urbana (9-8), a first-year school from Frederick County, showed a lack of poise throughout the first half.

The Hawks had a chance to cut their deficit to one goal midway through the first half when Emily Bowles got tripped in the box. But Bowles, who had scored four goals in her past four games, hooked her penalty kick wide left and Urbana never recovered.

Loch Raven has recorded 14 shutouts this season, including five in a row, and has allowed six goals in 17 games.

"It's a different level at states," Urbana coach Brian Parker said. "Loch Raven is a great team and made us work on defense by sending dangerous crossing passes at us the whole day."

Pub Date: 11/10/96

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