N. Carroll shows just how far it has come

0-13 last year, Panthers assured of .500 mark after 10-4 win over Liberty

May 07, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The fruits of David Dodson's labor became apparent last night.

After enduring a 0-13 season last year and organizing summer and fall recreational leagues to improve his players' stick skills, the North Carroll coach watched his squad score the game's first three goals against Liberty, and the host Panthers never looked back as they cruised to a 10-4 victory in Hampstead.

The win assured North Carroll (6-4 overall, 4-2 county) of their first .500 season in recent years.

"I'm happy for the kids," Dodson said. "That's why we worked so hard in the off season."

Senior midfielder Wyatt Deiaco, who hadn't scored in the Panthers' nine previous games, led North Carroll with three goals, and junior attackman Zach Crisler chipped in two and an assist. Sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Lettau made 10 saves, including two close-range stops in the second half.

"Kyle had an awesome game," Dodson said. "Kyle was really on tonight."

The Lions (4-6, 1-5) received contributions from sophomore attackman Steve Freedman (one goal, two assists) and senior midfielder Sean Donahue (one goal, one assist).

The Panthers took the early 1-0 lead 66 seconds into the first quarter when Deiaco bounced a shot from the right wing past Liberty junior goalie Kevin Schreiner. He skipped another shot off the slick grass and beat Schreiner high for a 2-0 score 3: 18 later.

Deiaco said his first goal energized him.

"After the first goal, I had more confidence to go to the goal," he said. "I haven't had that confidence all season."

After junior midfielder Steve Suter fired the ball from the left wing into the far side for a 3-0 North Carroll lead with 3: 41 left, Donahue found senior midfielder Adam White on the left wing, and he bounced it inside the right post for the Lions' first goal.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Liberty was assessed a three-minute penalty because the referees ruled that White's stick was illegal. North Carroll whittled the clock down to the 7: 24 mark when Crisler at the right post passed to a wide-open freshman attackman Nick Thurston, who deposited the ball into the open net.

Lions junior attackman Steve Miller and Crisler traded goals, and the Panthers cradled a 5-2 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Liberty's passing turned sloppy, and the Lions turned the ball over on five consecutive possessions.

Said Liberty coach Sal Picataggi of his team's performance: "We threw the ball all around the field. The defense was taking the ball time and time again, we were chucking the ball around and not setting up our offense."

North Carroll sophomore midfielder Ryan Wilkerson scored with 6: 08 left, but Donahue fired a low shot past Lettau to keep the Panthers lead to three goals.

But North Carroll ended the game with a 4-1 run, and with 1: 53 left, Dodson called Lettau to the sidelines and inserted seldom-used senior Blake Leedy in the net. Leedy would finish the game with two saves.

With two games left, Deiaco said this season will wipe away memories of last year.

"It's a big relief, and we're having fun, too," he said. "It's hard to have fun when you're losing every game."

Pub Date: 5/07/99

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