In a banner start, Blast drops KiXX

Team notches 2nd win in as many nights over Philadelphia, 16-15

October 24, 1999|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Before the game last night, the Philadelphia KiXX hung their second straight division title banner from the rafters of the First Union Spectrum.

In its attempt to win a third straight, the KiXX may have found its biggest challenger in an improved Blast team.

The Blast (2-0) defeated Philadelphia (0-2) for the second time in as many nights, 16-15, in front of 10,529 in Philadelphia.

"They are the defending champions the last two years," Blast coach Kevin Healey said. "They brought up the banner tonight. They are a very strong team that is only going to get better as the season goes on. We're proud to beat them."

The Blast beat the KiXX on Friday night, 17-6, at Baltimore Arena. The team faces Philadelphia in four out of its first six games -- a stretch that may go a long way in deciding the East Division.

"Obviously this was a huge weekend," Blast forward Tarik Walker said. "We knew we wanted to win the home game for all our fans. As a team, we knew we had to win a couple of road games here and there. To steal one here is a good accomplishment."

Philadelphia can blame most of its problems on Blast midfielder Denison Cabral, who after scoring three goals last night, netted the Blast's most important goal 6: 00 into the fourth quarter.

Cabral beat KiXX goalkeeper Peter Pappas with a two-point shot, giving the Blast 16-13 lead and his fifth goal of the season.

The defense, which was not as dominant for the first three quarters as it was on opening night, held on at the end, allowing the KiXX only two points in the fourth period. Goalkeeper Scott Hileman came up with many key saves down the stretch.

Healey credits stopping a last minute flurry by the KiXX to experience.

"I credit the players in this situation," Healey said. "We can almost put any player on the court. They re-adjust and know where people are supposed to be. That gives us an advantage.

"These guys want to win. They want to win in the worst way, do whatever it takes. This was just a players' effort tonight. We got 42 more games to go. We are on our way to getting off to a decent start."

With the match tied at seven at halftime, forward Eric Rasmussen scored his second goal of the season, a three-pointer, putting the Blast up 10-7 at 1: 06 of the third quarter.

Walker added a two-point goal less than a minute later to give the Blast its biggest lead of the night.

Seven seconds into the match, Walker scored his first two points of the season. The KiXX answered seven minutes later when Genoni Martinez put home a three-point shot, giving the KiXX a 3-2 lead.

The KiXX went up 5-2 before Cabral put home his fourth goal of the season, cutting the lead to 5-4.

The two wins for the Blast marks quite a contrast to how the team started last year, losing its first four matches.

"We wanted to get off to a good start," Healey said. "That was one of our goals of the year."

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