Centennial pieces `D' together

No. 10 Eagles put clamps on fifth-ranked Glenelg, reach 2A West final, 2-0

Boys soccer

High schools

November 03, 2001|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

After losing to Glenelg on two set pieces earlier this season, the visiting Centennial boys soccer team came prepared for yesterday's Class 2A West Regional semifinals with a new attitude and a new defense.

The changes paid off. The No. 10-ranked Eagles scored a 2-0 victory over the No. 5 Gladiators and advanced to next week's final against the winner of today's Hammond-North Hagerstown game.

Centennial (11-3), a seven-time state champion, is one game away from its 11th final-four appearance.

"We worked on not giving up long throws and corners," said Matt Hashimoto, Centennial's central defender who scored the game's first goal in the 42nd minute. "They got only a handful the entire game and must have had at least a dozen in the first game. They have tall players and are dangerous on set pieces, but we played a new system today."

Eagles coach Jim Zehe said it was a zone defense, something they had been working on for several weeks and finally unveiled in Tuesday's 2-1 quarterfinal win over Middletown.

Glenelg (11-3-2) tried to bypass Centennial's midfield with long passes to its forwards, a tactic that failed against Centennial's veteran defense of Hashimoto, Will Pippen, Adam Betz and Garrett Anderson.

This was Centennial's 11th shutout behind freshman goalkeeper Andy Wilhelm. The Eagles have allowed nine goals in 14 games.

Hashimoto's goal, his first this season, was struck from 55 yards out and bounced over charging Glenelg goalkeeper Corey Shea.

"He misjudged it and jumped too soon," Hashimoto said. "The keeper had the sun in his eyes and I wanted to try to get it up there so we could get a 50/50 ball."

Centennial scored its second goal about eight minutes later when Greg Long ripped a blast from the left side past Shea, who was caught too far out. It was Long's seventh goal.

"That earlier loss to them was terrible," Long said. "We didn't realize then how much heart they had, but this time we came prepared. We had some dangerous opportunities in the first half and knew that sooner or later we would score."

Glenelg coach Peter Klisas said: "Centennial was more focused than us and did a nice job today and I wish them luck."

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