Centennial wins, clinches second

Upstart Eagles top Glenelg, 12-8, to avert three-way tie

May 12, 1999|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Centennial co-captain Justin Vettori entertained no illusions about his young team's chances when asked to write down his goal for the season back in November.

"My goal was to be .500," said the senior midfielder, who was part of a state Class 1A-2A championship team last season.

The Eagles have far surpassed Vettori's modest goal. They won their 11th game of the season yesterday by defeating Glenelg, 12-8, and Vettori played a key roll, scoring two goals, assisting on two more and winning 13 of 16 faceoffs.

The victory secured Centennial undisputed possession of second place in the league behind Mount Hebron, which won the undisputed county title by defeating Oakland Mills yesterday, 11-4. The Eagles face Mount Hebron tomorrow in the opening round of the playoffs.

Had Centennial (11-3 overall, 8-1 league) lost to Glenelg, a three-way tie for second place with Glenelg and River Hill would have resulted.

"We didn't want that three-way tie," Centennial coach Mike Siegert said. "The kids have worked too hard. But at the beginning of the year guys would have thought you were crazy if you told them they'd finish second."

Glenelg, whose only other league losses were to Mount Hebron and River Hill, made a game of it, leading 3-1 before falling behind 6-4 at halftime. Zack McQuigg scored three of those goals and assisted on the other to keep Glenelg close.

Eric Jones, Centennial's other co-captain and senior midfielder, scored a goal and had four assists for Centennial -- three of those assists in the first half during a five-goal run by the Eagles.

"We were concerned about finishing second, and not about playing Mount Hebron Thursday," Jones said. "We didn't even talk about Mount Hebron at practice [on Monday]."

McQuigg scored the first two goals of the second half, tying the game at 6-6. The powerful left-hander squeezed his shots between the pipe and Centennial goalkeeper Mike Schmidt, who had 15 saves.

"He's just a good shooter and I wasn't hugging the pipe sometimes," Schmidt said. "Our defense forced them to take outside shots, which is what we wanted. And I just saw the ball well today."

After McQuigg's tying goal, the Eagles reeled off four straight goals, two by Vettori and one by Dave Paolisso, who finished with four.

Attackman Jim Fisher had three assists in the second half after scoring two first-half goals for Centennial and teammate Tom Eckes scored two goals and had two assists.

"We had problems with consistency, catching and throwing and slides," Glenelg coach Rick Kincaid said. "We played extremely hard, but the Centennial goalkeeper made a number of point-blank saves and they played more consistently than we did."

Glenelg plays host to Howard in the first round of playoffs at noon Saturday.

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