River Hill, Towson tie

Class 3A title game ends 1-1 after 2 OTs

schools are co-champions

Boys soccer

High Schools

November 18, 2005|By GLENN GRAHAM | GLENN GRAHAM,SUN REPORTER

An admirable defensive effort by the Towson boys soccer team earned the No. 14 Generals an improbable, 1-1 double-overtime tie with No. 4 River Hill in last night's Class 3A state title game, making the two teams co-champions for the second time in three years.

In 2003, River Hill and Towson also played to a 1-1 draw.

As the final seconds of the second overtime came to an end, a young Generals team was jumping up and down - its defensive game plan a success, while the Hawks showed the frustration of not being able to bring home an outright state title despite carrying the play.

River Hill senior Olatunji Williams headed home a long throw from senior Matt Stara to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the first half that stood until Wils Alpern converted a penalty kick with nine minutes left in regulation.

Towson senior goalkeeper Andrew Gisriel finished with eight saves, among them two in overtime that kept the game tied.

"Right now, we have a bunch of young kids that just became men tonight. And we might be one year ahead of our time because we didn't think this was going to happen. But we're state champions right now," said Towson coach Randy Dase.

For River Hill coach Bill Stara, who said he was considering retiring but will leave the decision for the near future, he was quick to credit the Generals' resilient defense and also made sure to credit his players' effort as well.

"Their goalkeeper had one heck of a day. He was the difference in the game. So hats off to them and their goalkeeper. But as much as I don't like the tie, the bottom line is we're still state champs and this is four in a row. For these kids to do this, they're still state champions and that's all that matters," he said.

Should he step down, Stara will leave with 14 state titles - seven each at Centennial and River Hill.

The Generals filled the goal with five field players to defend Matt Stara's dangerous long throws, placing four others right in front. With 2:20 left in the first half, Stara found Williams, who headed home a throw to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead at the half.

The Hawks continued to control play in the second half but couldn't finish on a number of chances in close. The game then changed with nine minutes to play when Towson forward Michael Baller was taken down in the penalty area, with the Generals awarded a penalty kick. Alpern converted, placing a shot in the middle with River Hill keeper Matt Moss guessing to his right to tie the game at 1 and send it into overtime.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

Goals: R-Williams; T-Alpern. Assists: R-Stara. Saves: R-Moss 1; T-Gisriel 8. Half: R, 1-0.

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