Puccio's first goal a big one as Atholton downs Howard

Defender, Raiders pull off 1-0 upset in West Region

Boys soccer

October 29, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

P. J. Puccio plays defense and the senior had never scored a varsity goal until last night.

He picked a good time to get on the board. His goal was all that Atholton needed to upset host Howard, 1-0, in the opening round of the Class 2A West Region playoffs.

Atholton will play host to second-ranked Glenelg in the quarterfinals Thursday.

The Raiders (2-9-1), who didn't win a league game this season, did post a 0-0 tie against No. 9-ranked Centennial in the final regular-season game, which gave them some momentum.

"This is a whole new season for us, and that Centennial game definitely gave us momentum," Puccio said.

Puccio scored with 10:48 left to play. His throw-in, which pulled the goalkeeper out, was knocked back out to Puccio by a defender and the Raiders fullback put a left-footed shot into the upper left part of the net.

`Two guys were in the goal and one almost got a head on it," said Puccio, who is right-footed. "We've been playing a lot of teams evenly, but we finally put one away when it mattered."

Atholton outshot Howard, 12-8, and had a couple of dangerous shots before Puccio's score, but Howard's Danny Dupree, playing just his second game in goal, made one great save.

"He's been our attacking center midfielder all season and it hurt our offense but helped our defense to move him to goal," said Howard coach Brian Boussy.

The Lions (3-9) had won three of their last five games, including a 2-0 victory over Atholton.

"This was an ugly game," said Atholton coach Roch DeFrances. "It's always this way when we play this team here."

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