0-13 in '98, North Carroll earns shot at region title

Panthers advance to final by beating S. Carroll, 9-7

May 18, 1999|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

They've emerged from out of nowhere.

Now, the North Carroll Panthers are headed somewhere they could've previously only dreamed about. Greg Dalgarno, Zach Crisler and Donnie Kincaid scored two goals each, and goalie Kyle Lettau had 20 saves, as the host Panthers, 0-13 a year ago, upended South Carroll, 9-7, last night to advance to tomorrow's Class 3A-4A West regional final.

Despite losing to South Carroll twice during the regular season, North Carroll coach David Dodson said he sensed the third meeting had a chance to be different.

"I kept telling the kids that we had a shot at these guys," said Dodson, whose team had lost to the Panthers, 11-10 and 12-9. "We'd played them close, and this was our chance."

The Panthers (9-6), who've already recorded the most wins in schools history and had never won a playoff game prior to this season, advance in the tournament to play the winner of last night's game between Westminster and Walt Whitman.

Players said that to get there, they needed to play a better all-around team game then they did in the teams' prior two meetings.

"We worked together unbelievably great," said Crisler. "Everybody on the team put everything we had into this. We knew there was no game past this."

Trailing 5-4 early in the second half, North Carroll took control of the game with three straight goals in a 1: 01 span, including a freakish goal by Crisler in which he scooped a loose ball with his back to the goal and shot wildly over his head to catch both the defense and goalie Jason Witte off guard.

South Carroll, playing without four starters due to injury, got a game-high five goals from junior Pete Shaffer.

On this night, however, it wouldn't be enough.

"It's tough to go to the well three times," said South Carroll coach Jeff Alisauckas. "You've got to give North Carroll credit. They beat us fair and square on the field, and that's how it goes.

"We broke down defensively in the second half, and we just couldn't finish tonight [on offense]."

He said that while the loss was disappointing, it won't diminish the season.

"Folks may think we had an unsuccessful season," said Alisauckas. "Like I told my guys, 10-6 is nothing to be ashamed about. It's a nice feat."

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