New kids, frequent flyer seeking state crowns Wilde Lake after 7th title

new River Hill wants first

Boys soccer

November 15, 1996|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

When it comes to playing in a state championship soccer game, River Hill and Wilde Lake have little in common.

The first-year Hawks are the new kids on the block, while the Wildecats know every nook and cranny of the neighborhood.

The eighth-ranked Hawks (14-3) have no seniors and no player with state final experience; the No. 10 Wildecats (11-4-1) graduated only three starters from last season's state-finalists and now have reached the finals in four of the last six seasons, winning in 1991 -- the school's sixth state title.

As far as this year's state playoff experience goes, the match-ups appear fairly even.

River Hill's Class 1A opponent, Williamsport (15-1), has made the finals only twice, and won once. Wilde Lake's opponent, Rockville (14-3), has won six of seven state final appearances. The Wildecats have won six of nine.

Both county teams have terrific incentives.

No first-year team has ever won a state soccer title. River Hill can be the first.

And if the Wildecats win they would score a head-to-head victory for Howard County soccer over arch-rival Montgomery County soccer.

In the past 17 years, both Montgomery and Howard have each won 23 state titles. The next closest county is Prince George's with seven. Howard County has won at least one state title in 16 of those 17 years; Montgomery in 14 of 17. Howard has dominated the 1990s so far, winning nine titles to Montgomery's six.

River Hill at a glance

River Hill coach Bill Stara, who left one dynasty at Centennial to try to start a new one at River Hill, credits his defense for much of the team's success.

"The back four have done a marvelous job, but we play a team defense," he said. "There are team incentives not to have the other team score, so everyone helps."

The Hawks have 10 shutouts and have allowed 13 goals -- nine of them in their three losses to Centennial, Mount Hebron and Wilde Lake.

That back four includes junior sweeper Sam Salganik, freshman stopper Todd Tedrow, sophomore fullback Aaron McKinley and freshman fullback Aaron Pierce.

The goalkeeper is Brad Breen, a field player who stepped in after goalkeeper Mike Dibella broke his nose in the season's third game, against Mount St. Joseph.

Breen's first start proved a turning point for River Hill, as the Hawks tied Hammond in the final minute and then won in overtime. It was their first league game.

"It set the tone for our season," Stara said. "We proved we could come back if we gave up a goal. It gave us confidence."

River Hill's scoring wizard has been Bobby Allen, a junior striker with 13 goals, six of them game-winners. He's joined up top either by freshman starter Clif Jackson or freshman sub Elliott Marquis.

The midfield is composed of Adom Crew and Chris Hastings in the middle, and Brett Endler and Randal Brown on the outside.

The Hawks, who have won six straight games, including playoff victories over Western, Smithsburg, Poolesville, Francis Scott Key and Pocomoke, have scored 39 goals. River Hill has allowed just one playoff goal.

"At the beginning of the year I thought it'd be a great story if we won a state title our first season, but in reality, I said there's no way," Stara said.

Wilde Lake at a glance

Wilde Lake wants to extend its proud tradition, one that includes something no other Maryland school has done -- winning four straight state titles from 1981-1984.

The Wildecats are experienced. Six seniors start or play a lot, including forwards Mamay Clarke and Saah Solee, fullback Kerry Fitzgerald, and midfielders David Briefel, Nick Wexler and Troy Fitzgerald. Junior Jesse McDonogh is the fourth midfield starter.

Briefel leads the team with 15 goals, four in the playoffs, but Clarke, Saah and junior fullbacks Matt Shapiro and Steve Feddor also have playoff goals.

Scoring was a problem early in the season when the Wildecats lost 1-0 games to Fallston and Centennial and tied Bel Air, 1-1.

Another turning point for Wilde Lake came in the next-to-last game of the regular season when it defeated River Hill, 4-0.

Wilde Lake's defense, with seven shutouts and 12 goals allowed, is anchored by outstanding junior goalkeeper Nick Parypinski. The Wildecats are huge on defense, with Lars Berg at 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Feddor at 6-0, 190, and defensive midfielder Chris Matheson at 6-foot-2 and 185.

The Wildecats have won six straight, including playoff victories over Glenelg, Central, Hammond and Stephen Decatur.

"We seem to come alive in the playoffs," coach Dave Nesbitt said. "We don't make a conscious effort to peak at the end, but it takes longer to master our passing style and to come together as a team.

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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