Soccer's daily double: Howard hosts regionals

Hebron's boys up against spoiler in Severna Park


November 04, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg and Rick Belz | Kevin Van Valkenburg and Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Howard High will roll out the welcome mat the next two days, serving as host to a pair of regional soccer championship doubleheaders.

Oakland Mills will play Poolesville in a boys Class 1A South regional at 5 p.m. tomorrow; River Hill will play Mount Hebron at 7 p.m. in a 3A East girls final. Tuesday features Hammond and Centennial in the 2A West regional girls championship at 5 p.m.; the 2A West regional boys title game follows at 7.

"We've being doing this for 10 years at Howard, so it is nothing new except this is the first time we've done it on a Monday," said Don Disney, Howard County's Coordinator of Athletics. "There were complaints last year about teams having to play on Wednesday and Friday, so there are no games on Wednesday this year."

Disney said one issue with an open format playoff in which every team gets to play is that the districts that operate the playoffs usually lose money. Howard is part of District V along with Anne Arundel, Carroll and Harford counties.

He said he wouldn't be opposed to exploring a format that would include only six or eight teams in each region as a means to save money and cut back on missed class time.

"If you start a game at 3 p.m. you have to pull kids out of school and it gets dark, so any delay or a shootout cuts it close," he said. "And most people can't get out to see an afternoon game. They really need to be held at night."

Disney expects 300-400 people at each of the four games, enough to pay for the fall tournament and some of the spring tournaments.

Vikings get a surprise

Mount Hebron boys soccer coach Mike Linsenmeyer is "a little shocked" to be playing Severna Park for the 3A East regional title. It's not that he lacked confidence in his Vikings, mind you. He was just expecting to play top-ranked River Hill, which was upset by the Anne Arundel school on Friday.

The Vikings (11-4-1) defeated Long Reach, 4-0, and Gywnn Park, 2-0, to reach the final. Bothered all season by injuries, Mount Hebron hopes to have everyone at full strength, including leading scorer Mike Glancey (15 goals) and star midfielder Brian Sweich.

Girls soccer regional finals

In 1998 when the Hammond Bears went 17-1-1 and captured the Class 1A state championship, they did so by winning three playoff games in shootouts. This season, the Bears seemed to have recaptured that magic, having beaten Atholton and Middletown in shootouts to reach the Class 2A regional final against Centennial.

"I don't know what it is, maybe it's destiny working for us again," coach Peter DiMarco said. "It's a lot like our season a few years ago."

Centennial, which got goals from Sam Test, Hayley Seigel and Julie Richter in a 3-2 overtime win over North Hagerstown last night, has seen first-hand Hammond's knack for winning close games. The Bears defeated the Eagles, 3-2, in double overtime on Sept. 28 on a goal from sophomore Jessica Basso.

There is a shared history in the 3A East final: River Hill and Mount Hebron played 100 scoreless minutes and settled for a 0-0 tie last month.

Mount Hebron, which upset Severna Park by 1-0 to reach the semifinal, got two goals from Julie Napolitano to defeat Northeast, 3-0, Friday. River Hill, which has renewed confidence after an up-and-down regular season, beat Gwyn Park, 6-0, and Wilde Lake, 1-0, to earn the rematch with the Vikings.

"There are no easy games in the playoffs," said River Hill coach Joan Kelso Smedley. "That's how it should be. It's now or never for everybody. That makes for some pretty good soccer."

Wrestling smarts

Two former Atholton state champion wrestlers recently were named Academic All-Americans by the National Association of High School coaches. Adam Roth (111-25 record, 2A-1A state titlist at 145 pounds, 3.52 GPA, 1280 SAT score) and Bryan Radik (123-30 record, 2A-1A state champ at 130 pounds, 3.74 GPA, 1290 SAT scores) were honored.

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