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Knights remain on top of MVAL

September 25, 1998

Knights remain on top of MVAL

Middletown's early burst just too much for Leopards

Middletown over SmithsburgBy CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




SMITHSBURG - It would seem that holding Middletown's No. 3-ranked girls soccer team scoreless through the final 60 minutes might well signal an end to the Knights' perfect record for the season.

But three goals in the first 20 minutes were too much for a young Smithsburg team to overcome, as Middletown notched its seventh straight win of the season, 3-1, in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League match Thursday night.

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The 8th-ranked Leopards gave up a pair of scores within two minutes midway through the first half, but were unable to rebound from the 3-0 deficit.

"This was a high-level game," said Smithsburg coach Rich Daughtridge, "there's no other way to describe it. We're a young team. We started seven freshmen. But I couldn't be prouder of the way they didn't give up. As far as I'm concerned, they're winners tonight."

Middletown scored early, when Lacey Gawler headed in a corner kick from Erin Carney for a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute, as the Knights (7-0, 4-0 MVAL) were consistently beating Smithsburg to the ball.

"When you come in and play a team as highly-ranked as (the Knights) are," said Daughtridge, "you're bound to be nervous. The Middletown team is respected by everybody in the area. (Our) big goal was to show that we could play at their level, and I think they did that."

Liz Shannon booted a goal past Leopards keeper Lauren Church in the 18th minute, and Anne Rieser completed the scoring for the Knights two minutes later.

And while the second half belonged to Smithsburg, the Leopards were able to find the net with just one of their 11 second-half shots.

"We really dominated the game, took control, and were able to do what we wanted to do in the first half," said Middletown coach John Miller. "There are any number of factors in why we didn't play as well in the second half, but it's pretty obvious we did not."

Freshman Kyley Thompson accounted for the Leopards' only score in the 72nd minute when she fired a wide open shot past Middletown goalie Anna Halse-Stumberg, but it was too little, too late.

Church finished with 10 saves for the Leopards (5-2, 3-1) against Middletown's 18 shots. Halse-Stumberg saved eight of Smithsburg's 20 shots.

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