No. 1 River Hill outlasts Liberty to the end, 2-0

For No. 13-ranked Lions, game of lost opportunity

Boys soccer

October 21, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

River Hill won the battle of unbeaten teams last night at Liberty, 2-0.

Until Jason Finney took a short pass from Justin Hughes and scored the game-clinching goal with 2:43 to play, however, the No. 13-ranked Lions (13-1) gave the No. 1-ranked Hawks (10-0-1) all they could handle in a tense, well-played contest.

"There was a lot of adrenaline. This was a big game," said Finney, who scored his sixth goal and described the pass from Hughes as "a perfect through ball against a back line that was flat."

Both teams produced numerous dangerous scoring opportunities, but a least two that Liberty missed were on the sort of chances that leave coaches smacking their heads in disbelief.

"I thought for sure we'd put a goal in, but we didn't finish like we have been," Liberty coach Ed DeVincent said.

He said his team was not in awe of River Hill, a 6-year-old school that already owns three state titles, has beaten the Lions all four times the teams have played and could play the Lions again in the Class 3A state playoffs.

"If we play to our ability, we can play with anyone," DeVincent said.

River Hill beat the Lions in the air and in the corners, but not on the ground through the midfield.

"Feet to feet, we played with them. We have to play on the ground and use our quickness," DeVincent said. "We knew they'd go to the corners."

River Hill earned 13 corner kicks - six in the first 10 minutes of the game. But they failed to score off them.

The first goal, with 22:25 left in the first half, was off a long throw-in from the right side, however. The throw was initially headed up and off the lower part of the crossbar, bounced back out and then was kicked in by Ben Brasso for his first goal of the season.

"After that first goal, we dominated the run of play for the next 10 to 15 minutes," DeVincent said.

Between the 20th and 25th minute, the Lions produced four dangerous scoring chances, including one on which they turned the corner, dribbled in and then dropped off a pass to the foot of a wide-open Liberty player in front of the goal.

"This was one of the better teams we've played," said Hawks coach Bill Stara. "Ed [DeVincent] has done a nice job with this group of kids, and they'll be a good team in the playoffs."

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