Roll goes Liberty's way

Lee's volley beats Hammond, 1-0, earns No. 6 Lions 2A championship

Boys soccer

High Schools


For the first 74 minutes yesterday at UMBC, Liberty's talented offense came on in waves, only to be constantly sent back to the drawing board by a Hammond defense that played both aggressively and poised.

It took a well-executed corner kick - sent short and low - a cleanly struck volley and some good fortune to give the No. 6 Lions the goal they needed to capture the program's first Class 2A boys state soccer title, 1-0.

Sophomore Tony Lee provided the program's biggest goal to date, hitting a corner kick that was sent in waist-high by senior Andrew Chernezia.

The shot from 10 yards hit the near post before bouncing off a Hammond defender and slowly rolling over the line.

The Lions, making their fifth state tournament appearance but first in a title game, completed their season unbeaten at 15-0-3, not allowing a goal through the playoffs to finally break through.

"It's great and I told the kids to soak it in and enjoy it because you're not going to have an experience like this in high school athletics. This is the pinnacle," said Liberty coach Ed DeVincent.

Lee agreed, saying it will be hard to match the feeling he experienced when his shot finally found its way into the goal.

"It hit the post and then I thought it was going to just come back out, but it ended up hitting off one of their players and then it bounced back and like laid on the goal line and rolled over," he said. "This will probably be the biggest thing. I still have two more years, but it'll probably be the biggest thing."

The Bears, who also were in their first state title game, have much more to look back on than yesterday's tough loss. The team posted 11 shutouts and avenged a regular-season loss to defending state champion Atholton with a 2-1 win to capture the South region.

"I thought we played great the whole game," said junior goalkeeper David Griffith. "We just made the one mistake and they capitalized. That just happens sometimes. I'm proud. We made it farther than a Hammond team has ever been, but then again I'd rather have won."

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