today's state soccer finals at umbc

November 15, 2008

CLASS 2A GIRLS

No. 5 River Hill (15-1-1)

vs. No. 4 Eastern Tech (14-1-1)

When: Noon

Outlook: The teams played one of the finest matches of last season in the championship game, a 2-1 win for River Hill that wasn't decided until the final minute of the second-overtime period. Both expected to return, and this is one sequel that might live up to the original. The defending champion Hawks are looking for their third straight title and sixth overall, which would tie Centennial and Severna Park for the most in the state. The Mavericks, who captured their first state crown in 2005, have been motivated since walking off the field in disappointment last year. They have a strong senior nucleus led by F Amber Womack and F Brittany Rhodes with junior Kelsey Ports a standout in back. For the Hawks, it's business as usual with the goal of bringing this senior class a state title. Brittany Yancey, Kathryn Rodgers and Amy Song are the senior standouts, with junior Anna Kim another consistent threat.

The Baltimore Sun's Pick: Eastern Tech

Glenn Graham

CLASS 2A BOYS

No. 6 Liberty (15-2-1)

vs. J.M. Bennett (17-0)

When: 2:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Lions have advanced to five state tournaments in the past seven years. Liberty's goal this season was to get back to the state final after losing to eventual champion River Hill in last year's semifinal. Lions coach Ed DeVincent is stepping down after the season, and while his players would like to have him go out on top, he has urged them to focus on the game itself. "This game is about the players, not me," DeVincent said. Liberty's last state championship was in 2005 and has won 13 consecutive games heading into today's game. The Lions have been led by Matt Gillen, who anchors the defense and has been dominant throughout the playoffs, and Connor Rigby, the team's leading scorer, who had the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over Loch Raven in the semifinals. J.M. Bennett from Wicomico County proved to be one of the most dangerous teams in the state after knocking off No. 2 Marriotts Ridge, 1-0, in the state semifinals.

The Baltimore Sun's Pick: J.M. Bennett

Todd Karpovich

CLASS 4A BOYS

Bowie (17-0) vs. No. 3 Perry Hall (16-2)

When: 5 p.m.

Outlook: Perry Hall, which is appearing in its fourth state title game, must make sure it does not lose its focus after spending so much emotional energy in the semifinals against Magruder. The Gators avenged last season's four-goal loss to the Colonials by outplaying them most of the game and then winning on penalty kicks. An even bigger test awaits Perry Hall when it takes on undefeated Bowie for the state title. The Gators are one of the most balanced teams in the metro area, scoring 42 goals this season, while allowing only five. The Gators are led by Zach Kane, regarded as one of the top goalies in the state. Joe Glos had seven goals and six assists for Perry Hall, and Kevin Medrano scored eight. The Bulldogs from Prince George's County knocked off a tough Severna Park in the semifinals. It was the third consecutive trip to the semifinals for Bowie, which last won a title in 1991. The Bulldogs, seeking their eighth state title and first since 1991, are led by John Patterson and Brian Graham. Perry Hall has risen to the occasion in each big game this season. The Gators, the only team to beat top-ranked McDonogh and Bowie, could be as big of a test.

The Baltimore Sun's Pick: Bowie

Todd Karpovich

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