Cougars stand tall but fall short in title bid

Boys Soccer Class 3a Final

November 14, 2008|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,glenn.graham@baltsun.com

All season, the Fallston boys soccer team found ways to win, having little trouble scoring and proving comfortable in the close games with positive results.

In yesterday's Class 3A state championship game against upstart Tuscarora from Frederick County, the No. 4 Cougars didn't play any differently but left UMBC Stadium unfulfilled after the Titans captured their first state title in the program's fifth year on penalty kicks.

After 100 minutes of soccer ended with the teams tied at 1, it was the young Titans who showed a little more poise in taking a 2-1 victory after a 4-2 decision on penalty kicks. Sean Duggan, Quinn Meehan and Ritchie Reyes helped give the Titans a 3-2 advantage in the penalty kick session before Jaime Ramirez wrapped up the title when he sent home a chance off the right post. The Cougars had a shot bang off the top crossbar and another one sail right.

The Cougars, making their seventh state title game appearance with expectations of bringing home their second state title, close out a fine season with a 16-3 mark, while Tuscarora (10-6-2) completed an impressive playoff run after entering the postseason with a 5-6-2 mark.

The Cougars had the better of the play most of the way and put 10 shots on Tuscarora senior goalie Mitch Kelman, with senior forward Dominic Welsh's penalty kick tying the game. Welsh, who scored 21 goals, summed it up best.

"The season was awesome," he said. "We had our ups and downs but got through it. Today, we were unlucky, and that was it."

Sophomore forward Michael Greene gave the Titans a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, chasing a through ball sent in by Meehan, a junior forward, and then making a 20-yard run with the ball before neatly placing a low shot to the far post from 16 yards.

Tight marking on both sides dominated the second half and the 20 minutes of extra time that followed with neither team creating many scoring opportunities. Fallston senior midfielder Mike Hamilton had rare open space with two minutes left in the second overtime, but his left-footed shot from 18 yards was gobbled up by Kelman.

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