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TJ blanks North

September 14, 1999|By AL DITZEL

Scoreboards don't lie but they often can't tell the entire truth about a match.

For example, Monday's girls soccer match between highly regarded Thomas Johnson and North Hagerstown. The four-goal difference in TJ's shutout win would lead some to believe the Patriots absolutely dominated the action. But, the truth be known, the Lady Hubs did themselves quite proud.

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"Take away the last five minutes and you have a 2-0 game,'' North's coach Rick Aleshire said.

Taking that a step farther, take away the final eight minutes and the score is only 1-0. TJ's Katie Roberts put the Patriots on top in the game's 18th minute when she left-footed a shot past North goalie Erin Ross inside the far right post from 10 yards out.

From that point, the teams played dead even until the final eight minutes with Ross making 13 saves ot keep her team in the game.

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"The coaching staff said coming in here that it was going to be a good game,'' TJ coach Chuck Nichols said. "I thought North did a great job in the midfield throughout the game. At halftime, I told our girls we had no midfield play at all.''

Aleshire credited Meghan Adair and Jackie Salvagno specifically.

"Meghan likes to get up there and score some goals, but when she stays back and helps Jackie, they're tough,'' Aleshire said.

Nichols said North kept the pressure on with junior Nikki Holman, who's been playing soccer for about two years.

"I don't know that girl's name, but No. 21 will keep you in games with her speed,'' Nichols said. "With only a one-goal lead, we had to keep on her. She makes it tough on you.''

North also had the wind advantage in the first half.

"We weren't playing very intelligently in the first half,'' Nichols said. "We were trying to put the ball in the air against a 30 mph wind. That's just not smart.''

But, TJ as it has done all year, smartened up in the latter stages of the game.

"I think we were able to wear them down with smart play,'' Nichols said.

With less than nine minutes in the game, TJ put on an offensive display that left North gasping for air.

First, Jeanine Defalu blasted a shot off the crossbar. Seconds later, Mollie Merkel put a shot just over the crossbar.

Finally, Merkel scored with less than eight minutes remaining for a 2-0 lead. Cefalu and Roberts added goals in the waning minutes.

"After they got the second goal, that was pretty much it,'' Aleshire said. "We were tired. The girls put up a great effort and they can take a lot away from this game.''

"I'll tell you what,'' Nichols said. "Our midfield played really well against (then, state's top-ranked) McDonough, and North's midfield was even with ours. They have a good team.''

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