Mount Hebron ousts River Hill

Mount Hebron 5 River Hill 3

Boys soccer

October 28, 2006|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

Mount Hebron senior striker Justin Martinelli didn't know the number of games, only that it had been much too long since his team had been on the winning side against Howard County rival River Hill.

That changed in yesterday's rain and cold when the No. 4 Vikings showed an overwhelming desire to move forward in the Class 3A East region, knocking off the defending co-state champion and No. 8 Hawks, 5-3, in opening-round play.

Martinelli finished with two goals - including the game-winner in the 53rd minute - and fellow senior standout Mike Napolitano contributed one goal and three assists.

Before the teams played to a scoreless draw during the regular season, River Hill had won eight straight against Mount Hebron (11-0-4) before a tie in the regular season.

"This was the first one against River Hill and it feels great to win, but we still have five more stops to go," Martinelli said. "Little celebration, yeah, but five more games - we can't stop here."

There were a number of times when it was obvious that Martinelli, Napolitano and the senior-laden Vikings were simply not meant to lose on their home field yesterday.

With the game tied at 2 early in the second half, Martinelli fiercely fended off a defender to get to Napolitano's threaded pass and finished off a chance from 14 yards for a 3-2 lead.

The Hawks, who started the season with nine new starters and ended it admirably with a 7-2-4 mark, again found the equalizer when freshman John Talbot answered in the 51st minute.

But Martinelli and Napolitano had one more connection left and the Vikings - with strong play in the middle coming from senior Zach Barnett - tacked on a late goal from Matt Schmauder to clinch the win.

River Hill first-year coach Matt Shagogue, whose Hawks yielded five goals in county play during the regular season, was quick to credit the Vikings' dangerous scoring tandem.

"They're good - their strikers are top notch. So it's hats off to them and I hope they win the whole thing for Howard County. It's just a tough loss, and I feel for our seniors," he said.

"We planned for it, but we just didn't mark up in the back well enough. You give them a half a step - their strikers are unbelievable - they're deadly."

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