Heady OT win gives River Hill 2A crown

Boys soccer state finals

November 18, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Sun reporter

Moments after hopping off the roller coaster that was yesterday's Class 2A boys soccer championship, River Hill senior Jake Pace was celebrating his game-winning overtime goal in the No. 3 Hawks' 3-2 win over No. 15 Loch Raven at South River, and then trying to find the words to describe the nerve-racking game that brought the program its eighth state title.

It was no easy chore.

"You can't really sum it up - there's so many different emotions that happened. It was happy, it was sad and then there was happy again. It was an intense game and a game that was definitely a lot of fun to play in," he said.

Pace headed home a corner kick perfectly placed to the far post by Tom Riso with 4:38 left in the first overtime to put an end to a highly competitive final game that displayed resilience and heart from both sides. The Hawks (16-4), who claimed their first state title since winning their fourth straight in 2005, won their last 15 games to overcome a 1-4 start. The Raiders, who battled back from an early 2-0 deficit yesterday, finished 11-8.

FOR THE RECORD - The goalkeeper for Loch Raven High School was misidentified on the Varsity page in Sunday's Sports section. The goalkeeper in the photo is Tim Badmington. The Sun regrets the error.

Goals from Jon Talbot and Eric Cates in the game's first 11 minutes, followed by stellar work in goal by Pat Hudson, gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead at halftime, but the Raiders, who lost in the final for the second straight year, weren't deterred.

Behind the relentless play of senior Steve Ehatt, who was moved to striker from sweeper in the second 40 minutes, the Raiders' persistent play forward finally paid dividends. Ehatt finished a chance from 8 yards in the 48th minute to cut the Hawks' lead to 2-1, and then was taken down in the penalty area after a ball was cleared. Eric Woods put away the penalty kick to tie the game at 2 with 28:49 left in regulation.

The Hawks regrouped, and after both teams had quality scoring chances, Pace, who also assisted on the Hawks' first goal, got higher than everyone else to score his ninth and most memorable goal of the season.

Class 4A

Magruder 5, No. 4 Perry Hall 1 --Perry Hall's bid for its first state title in boys soccer came to a halt against a powerful Magruder team, which was playing for much more than a championship trophy.

The Colonels had dedicated their season to their former coach, Scott Alexander, who died of a brain tumor in March at 36. Magruder blew open the Class 4A championship game with four first-half goals en route to its second state championship.

The Gators were coming off an impressive regular season in which they were Baltimore County co-champions and allowed only seven goals in 20 games going into last night. However, Perry Hall had trouble keeping pace with the talented Colonels, who finished the year with 85 goals in 19 games.

Magruder (19-0), which is ranked 10th nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, never let Perry Hall get into the flow of the game, scoring three goals in a 14-minute span early in the first half.

"Against a team like that, with the [dedication to Alexander] lifting them up all season long, it is difficult root against them," Perry Hall coach Danny Skelton said. "They are a great team and I have the utmost respect for them. We showed when we play our soccer game, we can play with anyone in the state. Unfortunately, we did not do it for 80 minutes."

Michael Lansing opened the scoring 15 minutes into the game when he broke loose from his defender and slotted the ball from about 6 yards out. Draymond Washington added the second goal four minutes later off a header from Ifiok Akpandak. Washington scored again with 12:09 left in the half, and Justin Lee added the fourth six minutes later.

For Perry Hall (16-2-3), Chris Sokolis scored his 14th goal of the year off a deft pass from Pat Mulherin to cut the score to 4-1 eight minutes into the second half.

However, that was as close as the Gators would get, as Washington completed his hat trick with 7:15 left in the game.

Todd Karpovich

Class 3A

Bethesda-Chevy Chase 1, No. 7 Bel Air 0 --With less than a minute left in the game and his team trailing by a goal, Bel Air forward Nick Burdick sprinted down the middle of the field and made a sliding stop inside the penalty area against a Bethesda-Chevy Chase player who was surging toward the goal in the Class 3A championship game.

Nonetheless, the Bobcats' quest for the school's first state title in boys soccer ended just a few seconds later in the defeat against the Montgomery County school. Bel Air coach Dominic Rose said the play by Burdick underscored the toughness of his team, which won three straight games in the playoffs on penalty-kick shootouts to reach last night's final.

"The sad part is that we have 14 seniors who unfortunately have to go home," Rose said. "They made one mistake tonight and I am proud of them. There is no shame in losing a game like that."

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