Wilde Lake wipes away past, La Plata, 2-0 2 freshmen, sophomore sparks Wildecats' attack

Class 3A boys soccer

November 16, 1997|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Wilde Lake's nine seniors refused to lose a third straight state title game yesterday at Old Mill High.

Instead, the No. 6-ranked Wildecats, with major help from two freshmen and a sophomore, defeated the La Plata Warriors of Charles County for the Class 3A title, 2-0.

"We lost two heartbreakers in a row, but finally got the monkey off our back," said Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt, who also coached the Wildecats' 1991 state championship team. Wilde Lake also lost a state final in 1993.

The victory, Wilde Lake's ninth shutout, completed an unlikely hat trick of 1A, 2A and 3A state titles in one season for Howard County schools, a feat that only one other county has accomplished -- Baltimore County in 1974. River Hill and Glenelg were the other Howard County schools that won titles yesterday.

"I credit Glenelg and River Hill for their wins, but all I was worried about was Wilde Lake," said senior fullback Matt Shapiro. "We were focused on us."

That focus allowed Wilde Lake (13-2-2) to challenge La Plata (16-2-1) the entire game, and unlike the past two seasons when the Wildecats seemed to have nothing but bad luck, good luck followed them in this championship game.

Freshman Ian Rodway (13 goals) scored the Wildecats' first goal in the 10th minute when La Plata goalkeeper Justin Detig dropped a cross right on Rodway's foot and Rodway put it away. The cross came from inside the 18-yard line from freshman Michael Dello-Russ, (six goals, seven assists).

"My goalkeeper slipped in the mud, or it might have been a different game," La Plata coach Chris Butler said.

Nesbitt was euphoric about the contribution Rodway and Dello-Russo made yesterday and all season. "I feel like a poker player with a grin on my face, dealt two freshmen who made significant contributions," Nesbitt said.

Wilde Lake scored again in the 62nd minute. Dello-Russo won a ball at Wilde Lake's 25-yard line and sophomore Bobby Ratcliffe (eight goals, four assists) ran side-by-side with him.

"He beat a man and played a great through ball to me, and I ran onto it and played it past the goalkeeper, right corner, inside post," said Ratcliffe.

That's when Wilde Lake's senior defense of Lars Berg, Chris Matheson, Steve Feddor, Matt Shapiro and goalkeeper Nick Parypinski took over.

Nesbitt said: "After that second goal we closed up shop and moved midfielder Josh Mazalewski back, giving us five fullbacks. The middle of the field was in awful shape because of the mud, so they would have to beat us on the wings where we like to play."

The muddy conditions also helped Wilde Lake control La Plata's top player, midfielder Keith Evans.

"He had a lot of fancy moves, but couldn't really utilize what he had on a muddy pitch, so it helped me a lot," said Matheson, who along with Mazalewski, marked Evans. "He never got the message to go to the outside."

La Plata coach Chris Butler praised Wilde Lake.

"They are a great team and deserve it. They had a solid defense and controlled the ball," Butler said. "Our game plan was to get it outside and cross it, but we couldn't do that because they dominated the middle. [Dello-Russo] is a little kid, but he's shifty and finds openings and does a lot of good things."

It was La Plata's first trip to the finals, and Butler thought that lack of experience vs. Wilde Lake's experience in the finals hurt his team.

"Our kids were nervous but Wilde Lake's kids knew what it is like," Butler said.

Pub Date: 11/16/97

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