Weekend soccer to watch

November 20, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham

Boys Class 4A final

Chesapeake (16-3-0) vs. Churchill (16-1-1)

Where: UMBC Stadium

When: 7: 30 tonight

Outlook: The No. 6-ranked Cougars go after the school's first state title playing their best ball of the season. In the way stands Churchill, a Potomac school that knows all about state titles, having won five -- the last in 1994.

Both teams easily advanced to the final, Chesapeake blanking Eleanor Roosevelt, 4-0, to avenge a 4-2 loss during the regular season, and Churchill shutting out Perry Hall, 3-0, in the semifinals.

"Against Roosevelt, we played well all over the field and put four in. We're playing great right now, and I'll be surprised if that changes," said Chesapeake coach Earl Eckhardt. "We're very confident. Perry Hall gave [Churchill] a lot of space and a lot of respect. We're not going to do that. We're going to go right at them."

Churchill relies on a possession game that starts in back with senior sweeper Gavin Fig and works forward to senior striker Nino Marcantonio, who has 26 goals and 13 assists this season.

A vastly-improved Chesapeake defense, led by senior goalkeeper Howie Otto, will have its biggest challenge of the season trying to contain the American University-bound Marcantonio.

"He's the real deal up front, and we're going to have to shut him down," said Eckhardt. "Our defense has really come together in the last four or five ball games. In the beginning of the season, we had a lack of concentration at times and let some soft goals in. But we've addressed that problem and have tightened up. It's been a collective effort back there."

Employing five midfielders, the Cougars like to attack the ball in the middle, then find senior striker Dustin Abey (12 goals, 13 assists) and work off his creativity.

Eckhardt said more tireless play from his midfielders -- Mike McIntyre, Billy Adams, Adrian Titus, Mike Jungerheld and Co. -- will be critical. The group dominated in their region final win against county rival Severna Park, and the trend continued last weekend against Roosevelt.

Girls Class 4A final

Severna Park (18-1-0) vs. Wootton (17-1-1)

Where: North County High

When: 7: 30 p.m. tomorrow

Outlook: Both teams needed penalty-kick shootouts in last weekend's semifinals to advance -- Severna Park dominating Bowie, 5-0, after a 1-1 tie through overtime, and Wootton surviving against Perry Hall, 10-9, after a 2-2 tie. The similarities don't stop there, starting with the fact neither team has lost since its season opener.

"Wootton is like a mirror team to us," said Severna Park coach Chuck Seivert. "They like to pass and have good foot skills. We're counting on conditioning being the difference."

The Falcons, in search of their fourth state crown, don't appear to have any weaknesses. They like to pressure the ball all over the field, forcing mistakes and then capitalizing.

Junior Holly Noga (15 goals, 4 assists) and freshman Erin Dubina (17, 6) lead an attack that gets support from a deep midfield led by junior Meg Miller.

Senior sweeper Meredith McAlister anchors a defense that denies well and does positive things with the ball to start the Falcons' possession game.

Sophomore goalie Kerry York was outstanding in last weekend's shootout, turning back all seven Bowie shots.

The Patriots, from Rockville in Montgomery County, are making their first state final appearance. Their only loss was to Severna Park's semifinal opponent, Bowie. Sophomore Laney Rosin is the primary target up front with Lauren Schompan the midfield mainstay. Junior goalkeeper Jessi Smat had eight saves against Perry Hall.

Pub Date: 11/20/98

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