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'Dogs write new second verse

October 02, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. - Tuesday night's boys soccer matchup between No. 3 Martinsburg and No. 7 Jefferson was all about breathing room.

With each side having tied No. 6 Hedgesville and each other in their first go-arounds this season, separation was slim atop the Region II, Section 4 standings.

Thanks to goals by forwards Nick Benavides and Joey Borror and a shutout performance by keeper Aaron Smith, the Bulldogs (9-1-2) created some space with a 2-0, round-two win over the Cougars (6-2-4).

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"It's huge. Now all we have to do is beat Hedgesville and we're at the top of our bracket in the section," said Benavides. "This was the game, because Jefferson's about equal to us, maybe even better sometimes. And their goalie, Andrew McKee, is great. He stopped some great shots, but eventually some are going to get past him."

Benavides put the first shot past him nine minutes into the second quarter. From five yards out on the left side, the sophomore forward punched Thad Reid's right-side throw-in - which McKee seemed to misjudge as it sailed over his arms - into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 Martinsburg lead.

"It was a miscommunication between the keeper and the defender," said Benavides. "I just ran behind him and kicked it in."

Borror sealed the deal midway through the fourth quarter, scoring easily from point-blank range after Adam Polinik's shot deflected off McKee and into Borror's lap.

The Bulldogs outshot the Cougars, 15-9. McKee finished with eight saves, while Smith made six for his third straight shutout.

"We've had three very good games," said Smith. "I'm just getting it into my mind before the game that whoever we're playing isn't going to score. I've been the keeper for three years now, and I'm playing my best soccer ever.

"I've seen a lot of Martinsburg teams and this is the best."

Bulldogs coach Jason DeBaugh also seems to know that he's got something special on his hands this fall.

"This team's peaking at the right time and that's a big key," he said. "You can attribute that to the heart of the players.

"Tonight was a big game for the boys on both sides. It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the season for us. Sections determine regions and states, and tonight's game was key for that."

Meanwhile, Jefferson is just hoping to get back on track for its home match against Clear Spring this evening.

"The kids are a little down," said Cougars coach Doug Hunt. "But hopefully we'll able to pick ourselves back up."

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