Toughened Bel Air tops Kenwood, 1-0 Matta's early goal gives Bobcats regional title

November 06, 1997|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

During his 31 years of coaching, Bel Air's Bill Jefferson has learned to schedule tough opponents early if his team is to play tougher in November.

His strategy paid off with last night's 1-0 victory over visiting Kenwood (11-2-2) for the Class 3A North region title.

Joe Matta scored his fifth goal of the year in the 14th minute off an assist from Chris White. White's pass came from along the near-side touchline to Matta at near-post. Keeper Rob Hudnet (eight saves, 10 shutouts) was screened.

"It was deflected right in front of me. No way to get it," said Hudnet, a three-year starter.

The goal stood up for the Bobcats' fifth straight shutout -- their seventh overall -- as White, keeper Ian Minnichbach (15 saves) and defenders Ben Skurdal, Brian Dempsey and Jon Sobus withstood a second-half pounding in which the Bobcats were outshot 17-4 (and 23-12 overall).

Once, after twice smothering shots at the feet of Mike Munzert, Minnichbach got off the ground to cradle a Kenwood player's follow-up shot.

Bel Air (9-4-1) will play LaPlata (15-1-1) of Charles County, an overtime winner of its South region final against last year's state champ Thomas Stone, on Saturday at Linganore High in Frederick County.

"We played well in the midfield -- controlled the game with our passing," said Jefferson, whose Bobcats lost to Sparrows Point, Centennial and Hammond, respectively, and had a scoreless tie with Wilde Lake.

"They pressured us late," Jefferson said, "but our schedule's why we've hung tough in these one-goal games."

The Bluebirds have been without striker Justin Buscemi (13 goals, five assists), whose right foot was broken in a first-round 2-1 victory over Eastern Tech.

But top scorer Joe Greaver (17 goals, seven assists) had scored four goals and an assist over playoff wins against Eastern Tech, Harford County champ Fallston (4-2) and C. Milton Wright (1-0).

Last night, however, Greaver couldn't overcome the in-your-shirt marking of Skurdal, one of three defenders to deflect shots from an empty net. The rest of the Bobcats contained Kenwood's Chris Lamb (eight goals, seven assists) and Don Driggers (eight, seven).

Pub Date: 11/06/97

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