Centennial streaks past Middletown Eagles cap postseason run with 2-0 win, state title

Class 2A girls soccer

November 22, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Turns out Centennial wasn't that bad after all.

The Eagles, who ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, ended the postseason last night on a five-game winning streak.

Can you say state champions?

The fifth-ranked Eagles, combining solid defense, an opportunistic offense and a strong desire to win, defeated Middletown of Frederick County, 2-0, for the Class 2A state title at North County High School. Centennial has been in six state tournaments and won five (1991-92, 1994-95, '98), more than any other team in the state.

Centennial's main concern against the Knights was stopping all-state forward Anne Rieser, who has 25 goals. Senior Kim Paulus, who had never played defense until two games ago, stayed with Rieser the entire game. And midway through the second half, Centennial coach Mike Senisi moved Mandy Zachmann to sweeper and had Carolyn Schmid join Paulus to double-team Rieser.

"That's their go-to player," Senisi said. "If we shut down her we'd have a good chance of shutting down their offense."

Rieser showed why she is so dangerous in the first half. She had two good opportunities to score, but missed wide and high on one shot and was thwarted by a terrific save by goalie Erica Niemann.

Meanwhile, Centennial's opportunistic offense was at it again. The Eagles (13-6) took only five shots in the game, three in the first half, but scored on their first two.

Centennial's Jane Williams took the ball down the right sideline and crossed it into the middle. Fellow senior Stacie Tokasz controlled it, and the ball bounced toward Maggie Via.

"I saw the ball coming and I just wanted to put something on it," said Via. "I knew I had to volley it into the corner. I didn't believe it was in at first, because I hit it with my left foot."

Senisi wasn't so sure, either. "I don't know how it went in, but it did and that's all that counts," he said.

The goal came with 17: 20 left in the first half, but two minutes later Rieser dribble almost 60 yards down the left side before hitting her shot wide. Five minutes after that, Rieser sent a beautiful shot toward Niemann, who tipped it over the crossbar.

"It was going in," Niemann said. "I thought if I touched it it would hit the crossbar or go in. I looked back and it had gone over."

Said Rieser: "We had a few opportunites but they just didn't go in."

"We had some chances," said Middletown coach John Miller.

And Centennial?

"They made the most of the opportunities we gave them," Miller said.

Zachmann took Centennial's second shot of the game -- with 7: 15 left in the first half -- and scored on a header. Alison Woods' corner kick grazed off the head of the defender in front of Zachmann, and she took the ball in the air and put it in the back of the net.

Middletown (18-3) outshot Centennial, 11-5 in the game and 7-2 in the second half. But the Eagles' defense contained very well, and clearly was more aggressive to the ball. The key, however, has stopping Rieser.

"I could see it on her face [in the second half] that she was getting frustrated," said Schmid, the Eagles' starting sweeper.

"Toward the end of the second half she was looking at the clock and getting a little nervous," said Paulus, who began playing defense in the South Region final against River Hill. "But she never gave up."

That could also be said of Centennial, which lost four county games by one goal -- three of them in overtime -- and ended 5-4.

"The way we finished in the county was not representative of our ability," said Senisi.

Class 4A

Laney Rosin converted a penalty kick with 32 minutes left to lift Montgomery County's Wootton (18-1-1) to a 2-1 victory over Severna Park (18-2).

Class 3A

Leonardtown (17-2) scored with just under five minutes remaining for a 2-1 win over North Carroll (11-6-2).

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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