Liberty loses to W. Johnson Lions are beaten, 2-1, in 3A West regional semi

November 04, 1997|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SUN STAFF

BETHESDA -- Three weeks ago, struggling with a 2-5-3 record despite the presence of five starters from last year's state finalist entry, Walter Johnson did not exactly have the look of a playoff contender.

Since then, however, the Wildcats have gone 6-1, and last night reached the Class 3A West regional final with a 2-1 conquest of visiting Liberty (9-5). The home team got a goal in each half and Liberty's goal was by Mike Reese inside of the last two minutes.

Walter Johnson junior Priam Chun capitalized on a sudden one-on-one situation as two defenders slipped down, and beat Lions goalkeeper Craig Rauser for the game's first score at 26: 35.

Speed set up the goal, as moments before a Liberty defender had cleared the ball out of his end, only to have Walter Johnson come right back. This time, Chun beat the defenders to the ball, and when they went down, he successfully challenged Rauser from 12 yards away.

The Liberty defense had to figure it was in for a long evening when the quicker Walter Johnson players started asserting their speed midway of the first half. The Wildcats spent most of the remainder of the half in their offensive end, and, with the one exception, the Liberty defenders were equal to the task.

This was particularly true of junior goalkeeper Rauser. Ahead of the score, he had stopped a hard shot by Chun in a one-on-one situation.

Moments after the goal, Walter Johnson was on the attack again. This time, off a free kick from deep on the left side, the ball carried to the far side, was crossed back and a point-blank header by Gerardo Hasse was cradled by Rauser.

The Wildcats' second goal came four minutes into the second half. Chun set that one with a perfect cross from the middle to Aaron Cohen on the right wing. Cohen then lofted a shot over Rauser's outstretched arms and into the far upper corner of the net.

Aside from the goal, Liberty's best scoring chances included a free kick from the right side that Pulse punched out late in the first half, and six second-half throw-ins to the goal mouth by senior Tim Chairs, who was still hobbling from an injury received in an opening-round win over Wheaton.

"They are extremely quick -- and you can't sub for speed -- and we knew we had to keep them outside," Liberty coach Ed Devincent said. "They beat us in the first half, but after their second goal, I thought we dominated the rest of the way. A couple of breaks, and it might have been different."

As it was, the Lions' best chances came in the second half. In addition to Chairs' throw-ins, John Somers timed his run perfectly to take a pass in front of the goal, but Pulse stopped his shot.

"We're coming together," Walter Johnson coach Corky Logsdon said. "My stopper, Tom Keeffe, was playing with 101-degree fever, and he was outstanding. We lost one to mono and got one back from it, Mark Collin, and he played well. Another back, Tomas Kucera, also had a good game.

A year ago, Walter Johnson lost in the 3A state final to Thomas Stone, and appears primed for another title run. This marked the second straight year Liberty went out in the semifinals.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.