Blast stops KiXX in tracks with 7-2 win

Hileman, defense lift team to third straight victory

Soccer

February 01, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

At practice this week, the Blast's players talked about how last weekend's back-to-back wins over Kansas City and San Diego was only a start.

It was this weekend's schedule at home - starting last night against the defending Major Indoor Soccer League-champion Philadelphia KiXX - that the team believed was its chance to really say something.

How's this for a statement? Two measly points for the visitors.

When defenders weren't getting in the way of shots or clearing chances off the line, goalkeeper Scott Hileman was speaking volumes, turning away 22 KiXX shots to lead the Blast to a feel-good, 7-2 win before 3,896 at 1st Mariner Arena.

The win moved the Blast (10-14) a half-game in front of the Harrisburg Heat (10-15) for third place in the league's Eastern Conference, with the Milwaukee Wave, the Western Conference leader, coming to town tonight.

The Blast has a three-game winning streak for the first time since Jan. 13, 2002.

"Two points," said Blast coach Bobby McAvan. "To hold the champs to two points is absolutely outstanding. When the goalie is that hot like Scott was, it gives the team such a big boost. The effort, starting in front all the way to the back, was outstanding."

The Blast beat the KiXX at its own game with stellar work in goal, opportunistic play on offense and success in the battles in the corners and beyond.

Fervently protecting a 5-0 lead, the Blast finally surrendered a goal when defender Lance Johnson put one in his own goal to cut the lead to 5-2 with 6:10 left in the third quarter.

But the Blast responded as midfielder Rich Daughtridge put away a wall pass from Denison Cabral one minute later for a 7-2 lead.

"Daughtridge's goal was huge. He just stuck with it and it really burst Philly's bubble," said McAvan.

It stayed that way the rest of the way, with the Blast killing off two KiXX power plays and whatever else the visitors sent its way in the fourth quarter.

Positive signs came early for the home team.

First, Daughtridge alertly cleared what appeared to be a sure goal for Shawn Boney off the line just 2:20 into play.

After that, all the first-quarter bounces went the Blast's way at the other end for a 5-0 lead that would remain through the half.

Defender Sean Bowers hit a ball off the right boards that deflected off the back of KiXX keeper Peter Pappas and eventually in for a three-point goal with 9:45 left.

Just 22 seconds later, Cabral looked to pass across to Tarik Walker, but the ball deflected off KiXX midfielder Joe Scigliano and into the right corner of the net. Cabral was credited with the goal to give the Blast the 5-0 lead.

The win proved costly as midfield catalyst Danny Kelly left in the fourth quarter with a dislocated elbow.

Philadelphia 0 0 2 0 - 2

Blast 5 0 2 0 - 7

First quarter - 1. Blast, Bowers, 3 pt., 5:15; 2. Blast, Cabral, 2 pt., (Walker) 5:38. Penalties: Philadelphia, Bartolomeu, (tripping), 12:10. Second quarter - No scoring. Penalties - Philadelphia, Kopp, (holding), 5:34; Blast, Celenza, (tripping), 5:44; Blast, Cabral, (boarding), 10:02. Third quarter - 3. Philadelphia, Bartolomeu, 2 pt., 8:50; 4. Blast, Daughtridge, 2 pt., (Cabral), 9:54. Penalties - none. Fourth quarter - No scoring. Penalties - Blast, Bowers, (tripping), 10:23; Philadelphia, D'Ambra, (boarding), 12:37; Philadelphia, D'Ambra, (five-minute misconduct), 12:37; Blast, Nelson, (kicking), 9:15. Shots on goal - Philadelphia 5-8-9-13 - 35; Blast 6-5-8-4 - 23. Power-play opportunities - Philadelphia 0-for-4; Blast 0-for-3. Shootout opportunities - Philadelphia 0-for-0; Blast 0-for-0. Goalkeepers - Philadelphia, Pappas, 13 shots, 10 saves; Blast, Hileman, 23 shots, 22 saves. A -3,896.

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