Old Mill gives itself title shot in 1-0 win

Championship on line in repeat meeting with South River tomorrow

Boys soccer

October 23, 2002|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

While the "win and you're in" scenario was clear enough for Old Mill yesterday, the task at hand - beating No. 4-ranked South River - was far from easy.

The Patriots, who have gone from an overachieving team early to simply very good these days, seem to like it that way.

A second-half header from senior midfielder Jason Stern was all that was needed offensively - junior keeper Tim Carrier made certain of that by turning away a penalty kick a bit later -as host Old Mill upset the Seahawks, 1-0, to earn a spot in tomorrow's Anne Arundel County championship game.

Now, the Patriots (10-2-2 overall, 9-1-1 in county) must try to beat South River (10-2-2, 9-1-1) a second time within three days, with the stakes even higher. The teams will meet again at 4 p.m. tomorrow in Millersville.

The Seahawks, who clinched a berth with Monday's 1-0 win at No. 5 Severna Park, will go in as defending champs, while the Patriots are newcomers to the game that was first played in 1994.

"Every year, you hear about the same teams - Severna Park, Chesapeake and South River," said Old Mill coach Jeff Martin. "[Old Mill] has been open for 26 years and we've never won a county championship. It was important for us to get here and it's a tribute to all these kids and the hard work they've put in since Aug. 15."

All season, Martin has pushed the right buttons to get the most from his group.

Early in the season, Stern was switched from sweeper to center midfield to give the Patriots more size in the middle. Yesterday, he used his 5-foot-11 frame inside the penalty area, getting higher than anyone else in the crowd and redirecting a long throw-in from Zach Keough in the 64th minute.

"We brought Zach up from JV because of his long throw and we worked hard on it [Monday against Southern]," said Stern, who now has four goals this season. "I was just trying to shield off players from my back and flick it on. It ended up going in."

The Seahawks, who controlled big chunks of the game at midfield, but were ineffective in their offensive third, had their best opportunity four minutes after Stern's goal when Zack Davis was awarded a penalty kick after a foul in the penalty area.

Carrier, who finished with seven saves, guessed right - literally - to make his biggest save of the day.

"I just tried to read [Davis], dove to my right and it took a good hop for me," said Carrier.

South River coach Greg Carroll said before the start of the season that Old Mill would be a team to be reckoned with. Had the Patriots lost or tied yesterday, Severna Park - a 2-0 winner over Meade - would have reached the championship game.

"Old Mill played like they had to win and went out and won it," said Carroll. "We knew they had a solid team and we'll look forward to coming back on Thursday."

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