County teams aim at three state championships Sweep would be 1st time in 23 years one county has as many champions

Boys soccer

November 14, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The likelihood of three boys soccer teams from one county winning state titles in the same season is remote. Only one time, in 1974, has it happened.

But No. 1-ranked River Hill, No. 6-ranked Wilde Lake and unranked Glenelg are poised to make it happen a second time tomorrow, when they play in the state finals at Old Mill High.

This is the first time the county has sent three teams to the state finals, and if it duplicates Baltimore County's hat trick of 1974, when Dundalk, Loch Raven and Sparrows Point all won, it would push Howard County past Montgomery County for the most state championships at 26.

Last season, first-year River Hill (15-1) and Wilde Lake (12-2-2) both lost in the finals, marking only the second time in 18 years that at least one county team failed to win a state title.

Wilde Lake has lost in the final three of the last four seasons. But the Wildecats have won six state titles, the last one in 1991.

Glenelg (11-6) makes its second state championship game appearance. It won in 1992 and was a semifinalist in 1993. Wilde Lake has won 11 regional titles and Glenelg three.

River Hill's Class 2A opponent, Easton (15-1-1) of Talbot County, has won three state titles, the last in 1994. Easton has won seven regional tiles.

Wilde Lake's Class 3A opponent, La Plata of Charles County, has won two regional titles but never made it to the state finals.

Glenelg's Class 1A opponent, St. Michael's (13-3-1) of Talbot County, has won nine regional and two state titles, the last state title in 1975.

River Hill at a glance

Defense is always the hallmark of Bill Stara-coached teams, and this one is no exception. The Hawks have 10 shutouts and have allowed nine goals -- four of them to Mount Hebron.

For most of the season, that defense has consisted of senior sweeper Sam Salganik (seven goals), sophomore stopper Todd Tedrow, and sophomore fullback Aaron Pierce and junior fullback Aaron McKinley. Senior Brad Breen, normally a field player, has spent his second straight season filling in capably at goalkeeper following another early-season injury to Mike DiBella.

River Hill's key offensive players have been senior striker Billy Allen ( six goals, 14 assists) and sophomore striker Adom Crew (14 goals).

Crew has scored five goals in his last two games, including a hat trick against Mount Hebron in a 4-3 regional championship game. Allen was the Hawks' top goal-scorer a year ago, but this season he has excelled at giving assists.

The Hawks have scored 51 goals and like to attack from the corners and off dead-ball situations. Easton, which has good speed and size, likes to play a long-ball style of quick counterattacks.

River Hill's only loss was to Oakland Mills, 2-1. The Hawks have won eight straight games, including playoff wins against Surrattsville, No. 5-ranked Centennial, No. 7-ranked Mount Hebron and No. 13-ranked Patapsco.

This is the seventh straight season that Stara, whose Centennial teams won seven state titles in 15 seasons, will be coaching in a state final.

Wilde Lake at a glance

The Wildecats are always noted for their short-passing, control game and were helped enormously this season by the addition of two talented freshmen midfielders, Ian Rodway (11 goals, three assists) and Michael Dello-Russo (six goals, six assists).

But this season an all-senior defense has dominated. Goalkeeper Nick Parypinski, sweeper Lars Berg, and fullbacks Matt Shapiro (five goals, five assists), Chris Matheson and Steve Feddor have produced seven shutouts.

The Wildecats have allowed 11 goals, but four came against the second team during early-season blowouts. No team has scored more than two goals against them.

Wilde Lake's opponent, La Plata, defeated defending state champion Thomas Stone in the regional playoffs, and Bel Air in the state semifinal. Wilde Lake tied Bel Air 0-0 in the Wildecats' first game of the season. Like Wilde Lake, La Plata employs a short-passing offense.

Wilde Lake has won five regional and one state title in 10 seasons under coach Dave Nesbitt.

The Wildecats, who moved from Class 2A to Class 3A this season, have defeated Broadneck, J.M. Bennett, Northern and Walter Johnson on the road to the finals and have lost only to Hammond and River Hill.

Glenelg at a glance

Of the three county finalists, Glenelg is the Cinderella team. The Gladiators lost to six ranked teams during the regular season and were 8-6 overall and 4-5 in league play when they came to life in the playoffs.

Senior forward David Harris, who suffered an injury in the first league game against Oakland Mills and missed five games, has inspired Glenelg. He has scored a goal in each playoff game and has a total of 11 goals.

Glenelg's strong league schedule has helped toughen it up for the playoffs, where it has scored wins over Poolesville, No. 9-ranked Hammond and Hereford.

Senior goalkeeper Justin Benoliel has played some outstanding games, especially in a league win over Oakland Mills and in the regional championship game against Hammond.

A core of other seniors, including Jeremy Shry, Brian Musgrove, Chad Marshall, Alex Blazek and Mike Farley have played together a long time and provide the Gladiators with a strong work ethic, cohesion and a fierce will to win for second-year coach Peter Klisas.

The Gladiators like to play the ball wide and then get it to Harris, who repeatedly has beaten opponents in the box for important goals.

Glenelg's opponent, St. Michael's, plays a possession-style game, starts four freshmen and has beaten and tied Class 2A finalist Easton.

Pub Date: 11/14/97

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