Boys soccer teams set for title chases

Led by No. 1 River Hill, county sends another strong group to playoffs

Notebook

High Schools

October 30, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Howard County, winner of more state championships, 34, than any other jurisdiction, is once again the boys soccer hot spot as the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association state playoffs swing into high gear this week.

Here is a brief look at the state-title hopefuls.

River Hill: A six-year run of excellence continues with the No. 1-ranked Hawks seeking their fourth state title.

River Hill posted its first county unbeaten season (9-0), and at 11-0-1 has a chance at its first overall unbeaten season. Only a tie against DeMatha, the Washington area's No. 1-ranked team, blemishes a perfect season.

Led by sweeper Brian Heinz and goalkeeper Dave Marquart, the Hawks have 10 shutouts and have outscored their opposition 38-4, never allowing more than one goal in any game.

They have balanced scoring, but Justin Hughes and Mo Hamzeh give them an impressive tandem up top, and midfielder Jason Finney also can score. Matt Boras and Spencer Hannas are strong at center midfield.

The Class 3A Hawks, coached by Bill Stara, have an unmatched six-year record of 88-10-5, and open their East Region playoffs as No. 1 seed at 7:15 tonight at Annapolis.

Glenelg: The No. 5-ranked Gladiators have moved up to Class 2A this season and celebrated by posting a 10-2-2 record - just two wins away from the school record of 12 set in 1992 and again in 1997, both state championship seasons.

At 6-1-2, the Gladiators posted their best league record ever, finishing third behind River Hill and Centennial.

Glenelg has established itself as a clutch team, winning five of six games decided by one goal, including 2-1 overtime wins against Centennial and Hammond.

The Gladiators have six shutouts under the combined goalkeeping of Brandon Maddox and Corey Shea. Shea, one of the top goalkeepers in the state, missed the first part of the season recovering from knee surgery.

Chris Glacken is a senior captain on defense with senior defender Conor Nixon also helping to secure the six shutouts. Striker Josh Burford has led the offense.

Coached by Peter Klisas, top-seeded Glenelg opens at ninth-seeded Walkersville at 6 tonight. Walkersville defeated Howard (5-7) in a first-round game Friday, 3-1.

Centennial: The No. 9-ranked Eagles (9-3) are one unlucky week away from a perfect season, losing by identical 2-1 scores to Dulaney, Glenelg and River Hill in consecutive games within a seven-day period. The River Hill and Glenelg losses were in overtime.

Led by sweeper Matt Hashimoto, back Garrett Anderson and freshman goalkeeper Andy Wilhelm, defense is Centennial's strength, with seven shutouts and only eight goals allowed. Randy Collins, Greg Long and Ryan Oates are the chief offensive threats.

The Eagles, seeking their eighth state title, finished second in league play at 7-2. Coached by Jim Zehe, fourth-seeded Centennial opens its hunt for a state title by playing host to fifth-seeded Middletown at 3 today.

Oakland Mills: The Scorpions are seeking their fourth straight Class 1A state title - a feat accomplished by just one other team, the 1980-84 Wilde Lake Wildecats, then coached by Jack Thomas. No team matches Oakland Mills' record of playoff domination over the past three seasons, however.

They have not been scored upon in their past 10 playoff games, and have allowed two goals in their past 15 playoff games. They have outscored those 15 playoff opponents, 40-2.

Coached by Don Shea, the defense-oriented Scorpions (5-5-2) have struggled to score (18 goals) this season after graduating Trevor Shea and Kyle Farmer.

In a South Region with a total of five soccer-playing schools, the No. 1-seeded Scorps have already advanced to the semifinals with two byes, and won't play their first game until Friday or Saturday against the winner of today's Forest Park-Brunswick game.

Mount Hebron: The Vikings won their first seven games this season, and appeared headed back for a possible third straight state championship despite heavy losses to graduation and the resignation of coach Jeff Doolan shortly before the first practice.

Back-to-back losses to McDonogh and Centennial derailed them, and an injury to striker and leading scorer Mike Glancey in the Centennial game helped prolong a 2-4-1 slide, including a 3-2 loss to struggling Wilde Lake ending the regular season.

The second-seeded Vikings, coached by Mike Linsenmeyer, open their title defense by playing host to seventh-seeded Long Reach today at 3.

Hammond: The Bears (7-8) have won five of their past eight games and can score goals in bundles (38) with Kwaku Boateng and Gordon Murray, but they give up a lot of goals (31) as well.

The seventh-seeded Bears, coached by Trevin London, meet second-seeded Fort Hill in Cumberland today at 5:30.

Wilde Lake: The fifth-seeded 'Cats (4-9) have momentum with a 3-2 win over Mount Hebron on Friday, but their host, fourth-seeded Severna Park (8-5-1), is a tough opening-round Class 3A East foe at 7:15 tonight. Evan Rodway, a junior, leads Dave Nesbitt's Wildecats offensively.

Long Reach: The seventh-seeded Lightning (2-11) is a long shot, having lost 10 straight games and scoring one goal in its last four games. Long Reach has been outscored 61-10 overall.

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