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McDougal nets winner as Leopards blank Lions

McDougal nets winner as Leopards blank Lions

September 13, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - David McDougal knew it was a matter of time before he was head and shoulders above the rest.

That's not cocky ... he's used to being in that position.

It took McDougal nearly 4 1/2 soccer matches to get back there again and when he did on Thursday, it paid huge dividends.

McDougal scored on a header in front of the goal off a high throw-in by Zachary Fay in the 28th minute for the only goal in Smithsburg's 1-0 victory over Walkersville in a Monocacy Valley Athletic League match.

"Last year, that's how I scored more than half my goals," McDougal said. "I knew I was going to get one that way soon."

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It started as an innocent sideout just above the corner kick position.

Fay took the free pass and two-handed it to the mouth of the goal. McDougal climbed the ladder to send the pass into the top half of the goal.

"Our kickers and runners know who to center the ball to ... it's a set play," McDougal said. "But this was on a throw-in so it's a case of whoever powers in to get the ball."

It gave the Leopards the early lead against a Walkersville team which hasn't scored a goal in its first three games.

"You build that like a set play," Walkersville coach Kevin Conley said. "This is one of the shortest fields we play, so you can take those throw-ins and put it right in the goal mouth."

The goal was a blessing, but it didn't allow Smithsburg coach Paul Newman or the Leopards any breathing room.

"That's the way we've played all year," Newman said. "We haven't scored more than one goal and we have won three games. After the goal, I told my assistants I hope we score a two more so I could sit down."

After the goal, the final 52 minutes turned into a battle for position and opportunities for the two teams. Smithsburg tried to create its offense while Walkersville tried to find its. The Lions were a split-second slow to the ball, allowing the Leopards to turn the ball upfield.

"We work hard to control the midfield," Newman said. "We try to step into passing lanes and intercept passes to turn the ball the other way. That's where we look to create our offense."

When the Lions broke free, it was either one pass too late or a weak shot on goal as Smithsburg goalkeeper Sean Hunt preserved the shutout.

"We keep finding ourselves one step away ... that's why we are scoreless in our first three games," Conley said. "There is a big difference between a shooter and a finisher. We are still looking for a finisher. We lost this race, but we are still moving along in the marathon."

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