Veteran La Plata turns back Hammond

Bears miss goal chances vs. 3A South champs, 3-1

High Schools

Boys soccer

September 06, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

La Plata coach Chris Butler said before yesterday's game at Hammond that he didn't expect his team to win, but was just happy for the opportunity to come into "real soccer country" and maybe gain some respect for Southern Maryland soccer.

The Warriors, Class 3A South Region champs a year ago, are ranked No. 10 by the Washington Post and return 10 starters, so Butler may have been kidding just a bit.

Whatever his real expectation, La Plata scored a 3-1 victory despite a strong if not dominating effort by Hammond, which has high hopes for this season.

"We didn't play our best soccer, but when we had chances we put it away. At halftime I told my kids that they were outplaying us," said Butler, even though his team held a 2-0 lead. "Then they had us on our heels in the second half. They quick counter-attack with No. 10 [Kwaku Boateng], so I put my best defender on him and they still got some chances. He's outstanding."

Butler also praised Hammond's other forward, Gordon Murray. "No. 2 [Murray] always found a way to get open in midfield," he said.

Boateng, with Murray's assist, finally scored midway through the second half, cutting the Warriors' lead to 2-1.

A few minutes after that goal, the duo made a beautiful back-and-forth passing run from midfield, but Boateng's close-range shot was saved by La Plata goalkeeper Austin Flowers, who made a couple of remarkable saves and several solid ones among his nine stops.

La Plata's Scott Wood had a hat trick and scored the game's final goal late in the half as Hammond was pressing forward.

La Plata's first two goals resulted from calls by referees that both coaches thought were questionable.

The first goal, in the 27th minute, was set up by a foul call on a Hammond tackle. "It was a bad call. It was a clean tackle," Butler said. The Warriors then converted the ensuing indirect kick.

The second goal, in the 37th minute, was lofted over charging goalkeeper Nick Hall's head from about the 18, as three La Plata players running in a tight pack appeared to be offside.

"We need to work on fitness," Hammond coach Trevin London said. "We showed flashes of brilliance. But we had three good chances in the first half that just didn't go."

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