Fallston retains playoff hold over Mustangs with 1-0 win Cougars top C.M. Wright for third consecutive year

Girls soccer

October 31, 1997|By Mark Hoeflich | Mark Hoeflich,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson isn't big on nostalgia and she isn't big on looking at the past.

That's why, going into last night's Class 3A-4A North region semifinal game, Ferguson didn't care much about her team's recent success against Harford County rival C. Milton Wright in the playoffs. Still, after the host Cougars' 1-0 win, the numbers don't lie.

In earning its fifth consecutive trip to the regional finals, Fallston eliminated C.M. Wright from regional play for the third straight year, by shutout each time. Even more unsettling for the fifth-ranked Mustangs (10-2-2) is that while they have been able to beat the Cougars (13-3) three out of the last five years during the regular season, they just cannot shake Fallston when it counts most.

"It is gratifying to beat them in the regular season for the county title or at least a share of it, but at the same time it is frustrating to come up short at the end of the season, against a team you've had success against previously," said C.M. Wright coach Peter Griffiths.

It seems each year Ferguson gets it done with a different team. The 1994 and 1995 teams, which advanced to state finals and semifinals, respectively, were known for their high-powered scoring. Last year's state championship team featured several role players.

Ferguson simply describes this year's team as scrappy, but it may have more heart than any of the others. "With this team it hasn't always been pretty, but they get the job done," she said.

Sophomores Gina Lattanzi and Jen Schuerholz are prime examples of that, and their play in the 24th minute provided sixth-ranked Fallston with the only goal.

Schuerholz settled a pass from Randi Falk just outside the penalty box before letting go a shot. It was deflected by a Mustangs defender to an open Lattanzi, who then beat C.M. Wright goalkeeper Erica Slater (six saves) with a high shot to the right corner.

"All year this team has been great on passing, and if someone's not there for a shot, somebody else is. And it happened to be me," Lattanzi said.

After putting together several strong rushes at the Cougars defense in the opening 15 minutes, the Mustangs appeared to lose their focus after allowing the goal. They were heavily contested almost exclusively in their end for much of the final 30 minutes.

"We lost our composure a little bit after the goal," Griffiths said. "Fallston limited our chances on offense in the second half."

Pub Date: 10/31/97

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