Bays' under-14 boys team wins opener of tourney, 3-0


July 25, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

GERMANTOWN - Supporters of the Maryland Bays' under-14 boys team have grown accustomed to a halftime shift.

It's not any adjustment made on the field, but rather above it, coming from the fans themselves who are used to finding the overwhelming majority of play on whichever end their Bays are attacking.

Yesterday at the Maryland SoccerPlex proved no different, despite the fact that the Bays were making their debut in the Snickers U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

The Baltimore-based club picked up right where it left off in state and region play, jumping on the Eagles of Alpharetta, Ga., from the start, eventually getting the all-important first goal in the 20th minute en route to a 3-0 opening-round win that was both bold and comforting.

The Bays, which collected three points, will continue round-robin play at 10 a.m. today against the La Jolla (Calif.) Nomads before closing out the first round against the Chicago Magic tomorrow. The top two teams will meet at 8 a.m. Sunday for the national title.

"We told the kids before the game we wanted to impose our will upon them, wanted to pressure them defensively, force them into mistakes and make them pay. I thought we did that," said Bays coach Steve Nichols.

The early persistence paid off for the Bays when Jonathan Ports (John Carroll) was taken down in the penalty area, and rewarded with a penalty kick that he neatly tucked into the lower left corner.

In the 27th minute, he made it 2-0 from 15 yards, one-timing a short feed from Fallston High's Brandon Fischer.

"It was a great ball from Brandon," Ports said. "He just flicked it back and I was there by myself. Once I hit it I knew it was in, so I was pretty happy right then."

The Bays got dominating midfield play from Mike Marchiano, composed play in back from Justin Lichtfuss and a relentless up-and-back effort on the right side from Matt Beckman, who jumped on an errant clear of a corner kick to place the Bays' third goal into the top left corner to put the game away in the second half.

"To come out strong and score first was big," Marchiano said. "It relaxes the team, you play the ball with more confidence, and you get more and more comfortable."

In the under-15 girls group, the Bethesda Eclipse lost its opening game, 1-0, to Slammers FC from California.

In under-18 girls play, the defending national champion Bethesda Fury opened with a 4-0 win over Busch SC of St. Louis.

In under-17 boys action, the Bethesda Alliance and the Chicago Magic played to a 0-0 tie.

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