The wild celebration that broke out moments after South Carroll defeated visiting Westminster, 14-10, showed how much last night's game meant to the Cavaliers.
Westminster (3-2 overall, 1-1 in county) beat South Carroll (6-1, 3-0) twice last year and won the county title, breaking the Cavaliers' 10-year hold on the crown. But South Carroll came out ready to play on this night and, except for one stretch in the second quarter, often controlled the game.
"Our guys wanted this more than anyone can imagine," said South Carroll coach Jeff Alisauckas. "We waited a year for this."
South Carroll worked hard at controlling the pace. The Cavaliers often spread the field, ate up long stretches of time, and dictated the tempo.
They also got help from several places on offense, led by Rob Onda (four goals, one assist), Mike Rabinovitz (three goals, one assist) and Jason Buppert (two goals, three assists).
"We wanted this bad, real bad," said Onda. "But we didn't want to run with them. We wanted to slow it down."
The Cavaliers did that for much of the game, but the Owls caused trouble when speeding the tempo. Rabinovitz scored twice to help South Carroll take a 4-2 lead after one. But Greg Fisher (three goals), Jason Holman (three goals, one assist) and Ryan Fisher (two goals, two assists) sparked a six-goal second period that let Westminster twice take the lead.
The Fisher brothers are two of the metro area's leading scorers, but South Carroll slowed them down after the first half. The Cavaliers made some defensive adjustments later in the second quarter, taking away the middle and controlling the tempo once more.
Buppert scored with 2: 41 left in the half to tie the game at 7. Danny Stansbury (two goals, one assist) added another just 50 seconds later, off an assist by Buppert, before Onda made it 9-7 with his goal at the 18.2-second mark.
Greg Fisher sliced it to 9-8 with 8.4 seconds left in the half, but the Westminster offense struggled after that. The Owls scored just twice in the second half as South Carroll held the ball, showed patience and took command.
Holman cut the lead to 11-10 with an extra-man goal 38 seconds into the fourth quarter, but the Cavaliers dictated the tempo from there. Ryan Wynne, Will Gunther (two goals) and Onda scored the game's last three goals.
Westminster goalie Bill Arnold made 18 saves, including a number of shots from in close. Nick McCready finished with 14 stops for South Carroll and came up with some big saves in the second half. The two teams meet again on April 24 at Westminster in a game that could determine the county title -- and the Owls will be waiting.
"They didn't want us to get [into a running game]," said Westminster coach Jim Peters. "They stalled it from the first quarter."
Pub Date: 4/08/98