Loch Raven hits heights, downs Hereford in final Ruocco, Goon aim high, end Bulls' streak, 2-0

October 28, 1998|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The high shots of Loch Raven left Hereford feeling rather low last night.

Gina Ruocco and Jessica Goon both scored unassisted second-half goals on well-placed high shots that helped visiting Loch Raven surprise No. 7 Hereford, 2-0, in the Baltimore County championship soccer game.

Hereford was the defending champion, but this was Loch Raven's fourth county title in six years. In addition, the Raiders' victory broke a 33-game Hereford winning streak against Baltimore County teams.

Both teams now move on to the region playoffs, with Loch Raven playing Edgewood on Friday and Hereford meeting Pikesville on Tuesday.

Loch Raven (10-3-1) has allowed only four goals while winning 10 straight, and the Raiders needed that defense early. The Bulls pressured the Raiders throughout the first half, outshooting Loch Raven 7-2 and coming up with several good scoring chances. But they could not put the ball into the goal.

The Raiders then came out fired up at the start of the second half and began slowly finding scoring chances. Ashley Froman put a 10-yard shot just wide three minutes in after a Loch Raven corner kick.

Ruocco then got a ball on the right side about 20 yards out and sent a high, looping shot that just settled into the corner near the left post, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead with 30: 37 left.

"I was just trying to make something happen," Ruocco said. "Any shot is better than no shot."

Goon came up with a similar goal at the 17: 26 mark. Coming up the middle of the field, she booted a high 20-yard shot that sailed over Hereford goalie Natalie Rostek and just under the crossbar for the insurance goal.

"I knew that was how Gina got her goal, so I went high also," Goon said.

Hereford (12-3) had scored at least two goals in every game, but the Raiders' defense effectively slowed the Bulls' offense.

Loch Raven coach Debby Konschak moved Christen Krejcik to defense from striker to mark Hollis Botti (14 goals, nine assists), and Krejcik did her job well.

Laura Palazzi marked Missy Mueller (20 goals, 11 assists) just as effectively, as the senior rarely had room to run or cause trouble.

Loch Raven also got a big game from Erica O'Donnell, who cleared ball after ball from the middle of the box, rarely letting the Bulls get very close.

"We had opportunities, but their defense played very, very well," said Hereford coach Steve Power.

In the end, Konschak's only problem of the night was that she couldn't avoid the dousing she took from her players. Despite that, all the coach could do was smile.

"I have a wonderful team," Konschak said. "They're a wonderful, hard-working group and they deserve this."

Pub Date: 10/28/98

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