River Hill slips past Atholton in second OT, 2-1

Boys soccer

High Schools

September 22, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The No. 2 River Hill boys soccer team survived a double-overtime scare from Atholton to remain unbeaten yesterday thanks to two goals from All-Met striker Jeremy Smith.

Smith, who scored 12 goals last season for the defending Class 3A state co-champs, displayed his ability to finish after twice finding himself in the right place at the right time.

He scored the game-winner in the 96th minute following a toe-poke shot by Theo Byrd that bounced off the chest of a defender right to Smith's feet. Smith turned and kicked a low shot inside the far post from five yards for a 2-1 victory.

"I'm glad we pulled it out, but we expected more of ourselves," Smith said. "There are still a few kinks in our game that we need to fix up. We hit the post three or four times and we didn't have that killer instinct."

Atholton (2-3 overall, 0-1 league), the defending Class 2A South region titlist, was seeking its first win ever over River Hill (2-0, 1-0).

In the Howard County league opener for both teams, the Raiders fell behind 1-0 in the 15th minute, but tied the game with less than two minutes to play on Tim Breen's goal and an assist by Scott DeFrances.

"River Hill was good, fast and extremely physical," said Atholton coach Roch DeFrances. "We're small and start only four seniors, and just weren't ready for that level of physical play. But our skill level is just as good."

Atholton goalkeeper Austin McAfee played a key role in his team's ability to fight off the Hawks. He made 12 saves and displayed exceptional punting ability.

"We knew that their goalkeeper was dominant in the air and that we had to keep it low, so both our goals were on the ground," Smith said. "He and DeFrances played very well in the back and Atholton fought hard for all 96 minutes. They played an excellent game."

Smith scored his first goal after Tyler Meade sent a ball into the box and it was cleared by a defender right to Smith, who put the ball into the far-side netting from 12 yards.

River Hill survived its second straight close call. Coach Bill Stara's Hawks defeated Urbana, 2-1, last week after trailing 1-0 and playing a man down with 10 minutes left in the game.

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