At last, Cougars ground Falcons Chesapeake wins, 1-0, over Severna Park in third attempt of season

Boys soccer

November 11, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

With senior Dustin Abey providing the offense and a stellar performance from the defense, Chesapeake found a 1-0 answer to the Severna Park puzzle in last night's Class 4A East Region championship at Meade High.

For Chesapeake, the third time did indeed prove to be the charm. The No. 7-ranked Cougars had a third chance to break a season-long spell that always seemed to have them a step behind No. 6 Severna Park.

With their 3-0 loss in the regular season and another 2-1 setback in the county championship game against Severna Park now far in the background, the Cougars (15-3) can look ahead to their second state playoff appearance set to begin in Friday's semifinals.

"I think we realized we were giving those guys all the credit and we deserved some credit, too," said Abey. "We gave them too much respect. Now they have to give us some respect back."

A strong second-half effort in the Anne Arundel County championship game was something the Cougars fed off last night.

Chesapeake coach Earl Eckhardt also made some adjustments -- dropping back a fifth midfielder with Abey the lone striker up top. A much more aggressive Cougar team was around the ball and outshot the Falcons (15-3) in the first half, 9-4.

The last shot of the half -- a 25-yard blast from Abey with 18 seconds left -- is the one everyone will remember.

The senior standout took a short throw from Adrian Titus along the left side and made no mistake in finding the far post.

"I think they were expecting me to take the long throw, but we pulled a fast one. I saw an opening and just ripped it," said Abey.

Said Eckhardt: "He worked his tail off all game long all alone up there and didn't give up on anything. It was a beautiful shot that came out of nowhere -- that's Dustin Abey."

The Falcons came with everything they had in the second half, but the Cougars' defense was ready. Senior keeper Howie Otto finished with seven saves, none bigger than the point-blank shot from Joe Weidman with eight minutes to play. Junior sweeper Scott Mucci also came up particularly big in the win.

Eckhardt said he saw a different Cougars team take the field this time around.

"We came out in the first 10 minutes with a lot of emotion and confidence. We just didn't think they could take us three times in a year," he said.

"This is what you work for all season starting with that first practice back in the middle of August. Here it is November, everyone else is packed up and we're still playing. It always seems to go through Severna Park."

Game after game, the Falcons were able to respond to every challenge as they set a new program mark with their 15 wins this season. Last night, it wasn't to be.

"I think in the second half, Chesapeake saw that they could hang with us," said Severna Park standout sweeper Reid Shaklee. "They were just ready for us."

Pub Date: 11/11/98

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