Falcons, Cougars gear for another clash


November 01, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County's top two boys soccer teams, No. 6-ranked Severna Park and No. 8 Chesapeake, jump into Class 4A East Region play this week. The possibility looms of a third meeting between the two for the right to advance to the final four.

For once, the state playoff lottery turned out so that the top two teams would not meet unless they both make it to the region final. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, because North County, a 9-6-1 team, came out of nowhere to win Class 4A East last fall.

Both Severna Park and Chesapeake are looking to build on negatives, with each opening at home in quarterfinals Tuesday. Severna Park (13-2) plays Meade (3-8-3) and Chesapeake (12-3) gets Annapolis (4-6-1).

Severna Park won both games this season against Chesapeake, counting Tuesday's county championship game at South River, 2-1, and 3-0 in the regular season.

The Falcons, having won their 14th county title in coach Don Gregg's 25 seasons, will be looking for their 12th region title. Chesapeake owns one region title, that in 1994, and three county titles. The Cougars shared the 1994, 1995 and 1997 titles with Severna Park.

Since the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state tournament began in 1971, South River is the only county public school to win an outright state title, that in Class A in 1987.

Severna Park (AA, 1983), Arundel (AA, 1987) and Andover (2A, 1989) were state co-champions.

A 2-1 loss to Arundel (9-4-1) in the next-to-last regular-season game has inspired Severna Park. Vastly improved second-half play in the county title game has lifted the confidence of Chesapeake.

"Winning the county championship helps us a lot going into the regional, gives us confidence, especially after the Arundel loss," said Falcons senior Billy Mooney, who scored the first goal in the county final. "The Arundel loss was definitely a wake-up call to realize we're not perfect and not as good as we think we are sometimes when we come out too cocky."

Severna Park had an 11-game winning streak broken by Arundel but bounced back to rout South River, 6-0, and followed that with the county championship.

Chesapeake was manhandled in the first half of the county championship by the Falcons and were fortunate the score was only 1-0 at the break. Cougars coach Earl Eckhardt challenged his players to play with confidence and step it up in the second half.

"It's up here in the head," said Eckhardt. "Our kids were just backing off and letting Severna Park do what they wanted. We were afraid they were going to beat us to the ball, and we conceded balls to them. Severna Park is very good but not as good as we made them out to be in the first half."

The Cougars played like a different team in the second half, a team that didn't allow the Falcons to win all the balls. Senior Billy Adams scored Chesapeake's goal on an assist by sophomore Mike Jungerheld.

"They hustled and put a lot of pressure on us in the second half," said Gregg.

Eckhardt will be looking for that type of inspired play right through the regional.

Girls soccer

The No. 4-ranked Severna Park girls (14-1) won their county championship match, 2-1, over No. 11 South River (11-3), and both those teams are expected to win region titles.

Severna Park opens in the Class 4A East quarterfinals at home Tuesday vs. Old Mill (9-5). South River plays host to a Class 2A East quarterfinal game with Salisbury's Wicomico.


The county volleyball championship match will be played at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Chesapeake with top-ranked, defending county champion and No. 1-ranked Severna Park (13-1 overall, 11-0 league) taking on No. 7 South River (11-3, 10-1).

Volleyball region playoffs start Friday.

North County volleyball coach Amy Williams returned this week after being hospitalized following an auto accident, and the Knights (6-6) swept Chesapeake (3-11), 15-9, 15-10 and 15-4.

Glen Burnie's volleyball team finished 9-2, losing only to Severna Park and South River, to mark the Gophers' 21st consecutive winning season, the first 20 under Juanita Milani, who retired, and this one with rookie coach Kevin Guite.

The Gophers broke out new jerseys, which the girls bought to keep with their names on the backs and the wording " '98, A New Legend Begins."

"Everybody has been kidding Kevin about following a legend," said Ed Sperduto, father of the Gophers' Susan Sperduto, "and that's how the girls came up with it."

Quiz time

Severna Park's boys soccer program began in 1969 with a JV team under coach Leo Bridgeland. The first varsity coach in 1970 was Don Leonard, whose 9-4 team won the county title in 1972. Then he left the school. Gregg took over in 1974.

Trivia question: Who coached the Falcons' 2-7 team in 1973?

Answer: Jim Pitt, the school's baseball coach who will be back for his 30th season next spring, and 26th at Severna Park.

Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 11/01/98

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