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Knights knocks Hubs from unbeaten girls soccer ranks

September 18, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

MIDDLETOWN, Md. - It took Middletown strikers Trista Haupt and Brenda Shakley all of about 45 seconds to take the suspense out of their Monocacy Valley Athletic League girls soccer showdown with visiting North Hagerstown Tuesday night.

Following a pair of clutch saves early in the second half from Knights goalie Jenny Wheeler, Middletown, holding onto a 1-0 lead, switched straight to attack mode.

On a give-and-go play inside the box, Shakley placed the ball perfectly to Haupt, who punched it into the right corner of the net from six yards out for a 2-0 Knights lead. Less than a minute later, Shakley deflected a clear-away attempt by Hubs keeper Kerri Snyder directly in front of the goal. And Haupt was at the right place at the right time to capitalize, giving the Knights a quick insurance goal on their way to the 3-0 victory.

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"I just had to follow and knee it in," said Haupt of her second score. "Once we got that third goal, they were done. They didn't have a chance of coming back."

While the play on the field was closer than the final score indicates - each side had 11 shots with North outcornering the hosts 4-0 - the machine-gun scoring proved to be too much for the Hubs (No. 3 Herald-Mail poll, 4-1, 1-1) to overcome.

"That flurry of activity ended the game in about a minute," said Middletown head coach John Miller, whose No. 6 squad improved to 3-2 (2-0).

"Brenda is so easy with her passing and vision it almost seems effortless. But I haven't seen too many players do what she can do, she just makes it look it easy. And Trista has a real nose for the goal. She always seems to be at the right place at the right time."

Of course, midfielder Angie Harvey and Wheeler deserve a hunk of the credit as well. Harvey scored unassisted from 20 yards out to put the Knights up for good late in the first half, while Wheeler finished with seven saves for the shutout.

"When you play a quality team like North, you need big plays from everyone on the field, especially the keeper, and Jenny came up big tonight," said Miller. "This game tonight could have been for the league title."

Snyder, a sophomore, finished with seven saves in her first varsity start. The Hubs' regular goalie was dismissed from the team Monday, something North head coach Rick Aleshire knew would be emotionally hard to overcome the next day.

"It affected the whole team and definitely hurt the focus of the game," said Aleshire. "You just don't rebound from that overnight. Middletown's tough, and when you come down here to play you have to be ready. We played well, but we just weren't emotionally ready.

"We'll rebound. It will just take a while."

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