Whitman holds off Centennial Stubborn Eagles can't stop striker Atchortua in 4-3 loss

Boys soccer

September 10, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Moral victories don't count, but apparently underrated Centennial at least earned satisfaction from knowing that it played the Whitman Vikings to the wire before losing, 4-3, in boys soccer yesterday at Centennial.

Whitman (2-0), defending state Class 4A champions from Montgomery County, already had defeated Sanderson of Raleigh, N.C., 3-0, in its first game this season. Sanderson was ranked seventh in the nation last season by USA Today.

The Vikings were eager to atone for last season's 5-0 loss to the Eagles, and scored two minutes into the game on Aaron Bernstein's shot off of a rebound.

The Eagles (1-1) scored four minutes later on a header by Mike Martin off a throw-in by Andres Conejo.

Centennial rallied from a goal down two more times. It tied the game at 3 with 16 minutes to play. Mehmet Bayraktar used his upper body to hammer home a corner kick by Matt Hewitt.

Hewitt also helped set up Centennial's second goal by drawing a foul. Martin then kicked a centering pass off Hewitt's long cross to Stu Kessler, who scored.

"I thought Kessler and Hewitt were great team captains who held them together," Whitman coach Dave Greene said. "Centennial played with more heart today than they have in the past few years. At no time did they think they would lose."

Centennial's heart, however, couldn't stop Vikings striker David Atchortua. A speedy junior striker, he scored Whitman's third and fourth goals. That came after he assisted on their first goal and set up the second by being taken down in the penalty box. The game-winner came in the 75th minute off a beautiful pass from Chris Gormley. Atchortua out-raced marking back Nate Zachman and drilled the ball past goalkeeper Mike Dramby.

"We're not going to play a team better than that all season," Kessler said. "They passed extraordinarily well and have great vision. And there's no one as fast as No. 10 [Atchortua] in our county."

Atchortua set up Whitman's second goal when officials ruled he was fouled by Dramby in the penalty area on a breakaway. Dramby protested, was yellow-carded and forced to leave the game for the penalty kick. Martin filled in at goalkeeper and was beaten by Bernstein's kick.

"He's a real good forward but the kid took a dive on that play," Dramby said. "I didn't do anything to make him fall."

Centennial coach Ron Martin was pleased with his team's effort. "I thought we did a heckuva job. We stepped up and hung with one of the best, so you have to be pleased. On the other hand we had a lot of chances that we didn't capitalize on. But so far I'm very satisfied with the way things are going."

Pub Date: 9/10/97

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