Kenwood takes down Old Mill

Pagulario's OT winner, third straight shutout lift Bluebirds to first title

Class 4A boys soccer final

High Schools

November 18, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

The improbable Class 4A state playoff run that belonged to the Kenwood boys soccer team came with a happy ending last night at UMBC.

Junior midfielder Dominic Pagulario made sure early in overtime against No. 8 Old Mill, ripping a shot from the right side about 20 yards out that slightly skimmed off a Patriots defender close by before quickly finding the far left post to give the Bluebirds a 1-0 win and their first state championship in their first appearance.

Closing out the second half of the regular season with five losses and two ties, the Bluebirds (10-6-2) never stopped believing, finding a steady flow of confidence with each postseason win that culminated in playing and winning on the season's last night.

"Resilience, being relentless - we just kept on battling," Kenwood coach Gary Schneehagen said.

The Bluebirds' defense posted its third straight shutout despite Old Mill (15-4-1) having the better of the play for much of the game. Just before Pagulario's goal, his eighth of the season, the Patriots had shots from Matt Rozanski and Andrew Engle go just wide.

And Kenwood senior goalkeeper Alex Hancock, coming off an 11-save performance in a 3-0 win over Walter Johnson in the state semifinal, handled everything sent his way cleanly to finish with six more last night.

"The season was a lot of ups and downs, but we were up at the start of the playoffs and able to keep the momentum," Hancock said. "I didn't think I was having the best game of my life, but I was keeping them out and hoping we could put one in. And when [Pagulario] put that in, it was just incredible."

Tight marking, sure hands from Hancock and Old Mill standout keeper Tim Carrier along with the chances that just missed dominated the first 83 minutes of play before Pagulario took a pass from senior midfielder Steve Dobbs down the right side with time and space to work with.

"Our whole team gave the effort of their life - everybody gave their best and it just came down to me shooting the ball. I had the chance and I shot the ball - it went in and we won," Pagulario said.

For Old Mill, it was a second straight season that saw the Patriots reach new heights. After winning their first Anne Arundel County title and advancing to the state semifinals last season, they took it one step further with last night's appearance in the state final.

"It was a great effort, you can't ask for anything more," Old Mill coach Jeff Martin said. "We had some great opportunities in both halves we just couldn't finish on any. You don't score any goals you're not going to win many games.

"Any loss is tough, but this is especially tough. It would have been nice to bring home a championship especially for this senior group - these guys really raised the level of play for this program. It would have been great for them to go out as state champions, but it wasn't meant to be tonight."

Goals: K-Pagulario. Assists: K - Dobbs. Saves: OM-Carrier 4; K-Hancock 6. Half: 0-0. End of regulation: 0-0.

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