Blast has minimum of pop in losing to KiXX

Pappas, Philadelphia control game in 19-8 win


November 18, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

This was one that was there for the taking, but the Blast didn't want it.

On its home turf, where it hadn't been beaten, the Blast was looking for redemption for a loss that shouldn't have happened, and it had the undefeated Philadelphia KiXX playing without its two top offensive players.

The visitors, then, appeared ripe for the picking, but it was the Blast that showed itself inexcusably vulnerable, playing a listless first half and then watching helplessly as goalie Peter Pappas took over with a dazzling performance in the second half that led the KiXX to a 19-8 win last night in front of 5,803 at Baltimore Arena.

The KiXX, playing without veteran standouts Kevin Sloan and Don D'Ambra due to injuries, remained the only undefeated team in the Major Indoor Soccer League at 5-0, while the Blast (3-4) suffered its first home loss of the season after three wins.

In the teams' first meeting in Philadelphia on Nov. 3, the KiXX needed a controversial goal in overtime on a power play that shouldn't have taken place to come away with a 16-14 win.

It didn't come down to that last night.

Shawn Boney (eight points) and Cesidio Colasante (seven points) more than picked up the offensive slack, Pappas finished with 18 saves and the rest of the KiXX players clearly demonstrated they wanted the game more than the home team.

It was a lackluster effort Blast coach Kevin Healey couldn't understand.

"I have no idea why that happened," he said. "It seemed like we had a good week of practice and we were mentally prepared to play the game, and then they came out and outplayed us in the first half. It was a very disappointing performance."

Despite the slow start that saw the KiXX take a 9-0 lead midway through the second quarter, the Blast still had an opening when defender Sean Bowers connected on a three-point goal with 1:06 left until halftime that cut the lead to 9-5.

Pappas, with the majority of his 18 saves coming in a stellar third quarter, closed the door and then Boney locked it with a three-pointer of his own to build the KiXX lead back to 12-5 with 10:12 left in a third quarter that was to have no more scoring.

Game over.

"They're off to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter and we were just fighting to get back, but they worked hard all night. There wasn't a shift where they didn't work hard," said Blast defender Doug Neely. "They just kept coming at us and coming at us and then Pappas made some unbelievable saves. They outworked us."

The KiXX opened with the game's first nine points - getting a three-point goal, two-point goal and two assists from Colasante - and could have had more with some better finishing.

At the other end, the KiXX's defenders were marking well and, when the Blast found an opening, Pappas was there for the big save. He saved his best for the second half, turning away chances from Neely, Danny Kelly and Giuliano Celenza in the third quarter before Boney restored order.

The Blast will return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday in a rare weeknight game against the Cleveland Crunch at Baltimore Arena. The Crunch handed the Blast its first loss of the season in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 27, a 16-7 setback in Cleveland.

"You try to look at the big picture. Maybe get back and look at the tape and figure out what's going on. It's still early, that's a plus, but there weren't too many pluses," said Blast keeper Scott Hileman.

NOTES: Veteran defender Jason Dieter made his season debut last night, returning from a knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in April and arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 15.

Philadelphia 5 4 3 7 - 19

Blast 0 5 0 3 - 8

First quarter: 1. Philadelphia, Boney, 2 pt., (Colasante), 4:37; 2. Philadelphia, Colasante, 3 pt., 6:20. Penalties: Blast, Kelly, (tripping), 14:39. Second quarter: 3. Philadelphia, Boney, 2 pt. (Colasante), 5:49; 4. Philadelphia, Colasante, 2 pt., (Marinos), 8:37; 5. Blast, Wright, 2 pt., (Walker), 9:30; Blast, Bowers, 3 pt., (Wright), 13:54). Third quarter: 7. Philadelphia, Boney, 3 pt., 4:48. Penalties: Philadelphia, Pappas (hand ball), 5:47. Fourth quarter: 8. Philadelphia, Hesch, 3 pt. (Morris), 2:09; 9. Blast, Cabral, 1 pt., 2:39; 10. Blast, Walker, 2 pt. (Bowers), 2:40; 11. Philadelphia, Boney, 1 pt., 4:18; 12. Philadephia, Shanker, 3 pt., 13:32. Penalties: Blast, Hileman, (pushing) 1:28; Philadelphia, DePalma, (five-minute misconduct), 2:39; Blast, (five-minute bench misconduct), 4:18; Blast, Dieter, (tripping) 5:54. Shots on goal: Philadelphia 5-12-13-9 -31 ; Blast 2-8-5-7 - 36. Power-play opportunities: Philadelphia 1-for-3; Blast 0-for-1.Shootout opportunities: Philadelphia 1-for-1; Blast 1-for-1.Goalkeepers: Philadelphia, Pappas, 22 shots, 18 saves, Dobson, 1 shot, 1 save; Blast, Hileman, 19 shots, 13 saves, Hymowitz, 1 shot, 0 saves, Bowers, 1 shot, 0 saves. A-5,803.

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