Fallston, Hereford hope No. 3 is lucky Both teams seeking third state titles in four years

Girls soccer

November 14, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Three could be the lucky number for Fallston and for Hereford in tomorrow's state girls soccer championships at Dundalk Community College.

Defending Class 3A-4A champ Fallston (15-3) goes after its third title in four years against Thomas Johnson at 2: 30 p.m. The fourth-ranked Cougars also won a Class 1A-2A title in 1994.

The No. 14-ranked Bulls (13-0-3) are banking on the third time as the proverbial charm when they face Glenelg for the Class 1A-2A title at 5 p.m. This is Hereford's third trip to the state tournament in four years, but the Bulls have never gone home with the trophy.

Since the state tournament began nine years ago, Nancy Ferguson's Cougars have been there five times. Only two teams have gone more often -- Severna Park (seven times) and Oakland Mills (six).

This year, even with six underclassmen starting, the scrappy Cougars have lost only to teams ranked in the top six at the time -- No. 1 Catholic (3-0), No. 4 Liberty (1-0) and No. 6 C. Milton Wright (1-0). They shared the Harford County title with C. Milton Wright and Bel Air but later avenged the loss to the Mustangs with a 1-0 victory in the regional final.

Fran Amasia (seven goals, six assists) is the top scorer, but the Cougars' top-notch defensive unit of Amber Bradford, Kristen Gayo, Christy Peterson and goalie Candy Kuligowski has

allowed just nine goals and posted 11 shutouts. They gave up only one goal in the playoffs and had three shutouts.

Thomas Johnson (17-1-1) boasts similar defensive numbers. The Frederick County team, in the tournament for the first time, has allowed seven goals and has notched 13 shutouts, including three of four playoffs games.

The Patriots suffered their only loss to Liberty, 1-0, in midseason but rebounded to pound the Lions 4-0 in the regional final.

While the Cougars' strength lies in their defense, the Patriots' lies in the middle. Senior center midfielder Samantha Meyers, a Parade All-American last year, is the leading scorer with 21 goals and 12 assists. She and senior Ashley Hull (6, 16) generate most of the offense.

The Cougars cannot afford to be a second-half team tomorrow, said Ferguson: "We have to win the 50-50 balls and be aggressive from the first whistle. We'll keep to the same game plan we had against Bowie [1-0 semifinal victory]. We have to force them wide and hold tighter marks."

In the later game, Hereford may have its best chance yet at a title after getting past perennial stumbling block Oakland Mills. The Scorpions beat Hereford 2-0 in the 1995 title game and 1-0 in the 1994 semifinal, but the Bulls avenged those losses with Monday night's 2-1 semifinal win.

Saturday, the Bulls face a Glenelg team that has never been to the state tournament and had to win all four of its playoff games just to reach .500. However, the Baltimore County champions are taking nothing for granted.

"We're actually very nervous about the game," said striker Melissa Mueller, who plays on the Magic club team with several Glenelg players, including goalie Jamie Epperlein. "We're expecting another Oakland Mills game, so we're going to have to work together and be on our game."

Mueller is probably right about the similarity between Oakland Mills and Glenelg (7-7-4). They were even enough to go into overtime during the regular season before the Scorpions won, 2-1.

"They come out of a great league [Howard County]," said Bulls coach Steve Power. "They play super-quality teams, so we know they're going to be really good."

The Gladiators, toughened by seven overtime games, have beaten their playoff opponents by a combined 17-0. That nearly doubled their offensive output of 19 goals during the regular season. Their leading scorers, however, don't have huge numbers -- Erin Kortecamp (eight, five), Stephanie Howell (nine, three).

The Bulls have far superior numbers, outscoring the opposition 61-9 as opposed to 36-24 for the Gladiators.

Mueller has a school-record 24 goals, plus eight assists. The junior also holds Hereford's record for career goals (49). Martha Hilton (10, three), Sarah Stoltz (nine, four) and Jen Cox (five, five) also are threats.

The Bulls have had a record-setting season in almost every regard. They have the best record in school history, the most shutouts (10), the most goals scored (61), the fewest goals allowed by a keeper (Lauren Rice, six) and the most games without a loss (16).

Pub Date: 11/14/97

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