Bays' bid for title falls short in 2-0 loss

Slow start foils Md. team in under-14 championship

Soccer

July 29, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

GERMANTOWN - Some of the players just fell to the ground while others slowly walked off the field with their heads down. The final whistle had arrived and, stunningly, it was the other team celebrating.

Clearly for the Maryland Bays under-14 boys, it was unfamiliar territory.

It was that way from the beginning yesterday morning at the Maryland SoccerPlex, where the Bays surrendered an early goal against the Nomads from La Jolla, Calif., and never recovered, seeing their incredible run fall one game short with a 2-0 loss in the final of the Snickers U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

The Bays advanced to the finals with flawless play in the opening round, going 3-0, including a 1-0 win over the Nomads on Thursday. Trying to beat a quality opponent for the second time in four days proved too much for the Bays.

"We just came out flat this game, we didn't come out like we should have and they wanted it more I guess," Bays midfielder Drew Yates said. "We already beat them the first time, so it's real disappointing. They were just the better team today - more physical and more skilled."

Playing from behind had been a rarity for the Bays, which outscored 10 opponents 44-1 in state and region play. They fell behind against Philadelphia-based FC Delco, 1-0, in their region opener but came back for a 2-1 win.

Yesterday, Rhett Bernstein scored in the third minute to give the Nomads a lead they would never relinquish.

"We were shocked. The last game we came out and dominated the first five minutes," midfielder Mike Marchiano said. "Once a team like that has momentum - any team at this level really - it's hard to stop them."

The Bays had few chances for the equalizer with the Nomads controlling most of the play at midfield and marking tight in back. Yates had a header in front go wide and Marchiano sent a shot from 20 yards out high early in the second half before the Nomads put the game away.

With central defender Justin Lichtfuss coming out in the first half with an injured ankle and the Bays sending more forward, the Nomads put the game away midway through the second half with a goal from Andres Leon.

"They're a great team and you've got to come to play for 70 minutes against them," Bays coach Steve Nichols said. "We played 70 minutes last game and beat them and this time we didn't. It was an incredible year. You're playing at 8 a.m. in the morning on July 28th - that was our dream from November. We did the proper things to get here. We were just a little tentative the first five minutes and they're a good enough to make us pay for it. We'll be back."

In under-14 girls play, the Bethesda Eclipse fell, 2-1, to Slammers from Newport Beach, Calif. Brooke Bumbry gave the Eclipse a 1-0 lead early before the Slammers got the tying goal from Krysten Bradshaw and the game-winner from Alexa Orand late in the first half.

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