River Hill beats Mt. Hebron, 1-0, moves step closer to top seed

Hawks dominate 2nd half

Joseph beats Nemeh in OT

High Schools

Boys soccer

October 15, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

River Hill played with greater intensity in the second half, created more scoring opportunities throughout the game and finally defeated Class 3A rival Mount Hebron in overtime, 1-0, on a golden goal by sophomore Malcolm Joseph IV.

The win kept the visiting and No. 3-ranked Hawks (9-1 overall, 6-1 league) one game behind Oakland Mills in the Howard County championship race with three games left, and was important toward helping them possibly gain a top seed and home-field in the regional playoffs.

But yesterday's ending was controversial from No. 9 Mount Hebron's point of view.

The winning goal was created after River Hill forward Jeremy Smith fell on the ball, then got up and played it across to Joseph, who dribbled by two Vikings defenders before shooting - a soft kick that rolled just inside the far post with 4:32 left in the 10-minute overtime period.

"He [Smith] fell on the ball, shielded it with his hand and then played it," said Mount Hebron goalkeeper Chris Nemeh, who played his best game of the season with 11 saves. "It should have been a handball. But we didn't play too well, so you can't really blame our losing on that call."

Vikings coach Mike Linsenmeyer agreed with his goalkeeper, saying the team's play in the second half - not the no-call in overtime - cost them the game.

"Our defense stopped playing because it thought there was a handball violation, and [River Hill] put it away," said Linsenmeyer. "We shouldn't have stopped playing. It was a fairly called game by the refs. We did show we can play with River Hill, and hopefully we'll see them again in the playoffs."

Smith, who has six goals and five assists, saw the play differently.

"I received the ball, got pushed, fell on top of the ball with my stomach, got up and pushed it to Malcolm," said Smith. "I don't see how it could have been a handball."

Smith played with intensity throughout the game at three different positions, including striker, left halfback and right halfback.

"We've been waiting for this game all season, as have they," said Smith. "They have a strong back four and I had to fight against them the whole game."

River Hill played without center midfielder Brian Chun, who missed the game because of a bad case of poison ivy.

The Hawks beat Mount Hebron (10-2, 6-2) twice last season, including once in the regional final, and haven't lost to the Vikings since 2000.

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