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Wildcats are MVAL top dogs again

October 09, 2002|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

The No. 5 Williamsport boys soccer team's approach was simple yet effective against No. 2 North Hagerstown in Tuesday night's Monocacy Valley Athletic League showdown at School Stadium:

Slow down Hubs star midfielder Ben McAbee, and you slow down North's potent offense.

The plan seemed to work, as the defending league champ Wildcats (9-1-1, 5-0-1) held McAbee - who came in averaging 2.82 points per game - to just a pair of second-half shots en route to a 1-0 win and sole possession of first place in the MVAL.

Meanwhile, North (10-2, 5-1), which has outscored its opponents 44-5 this season, had its 10-game win streak snapped.

"We shut down a high-powered offense tonight," said Wildcats coach Stan Stouffer. "The key was slowing down, not stopping, Mr. McAbee. He's all over the place and that's why you can't let him run loose. He's an excellent player."

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Williamsport midfielders Rhett Troxell and Tyler Cannon were the key executors, combining defensive efforts to keep McAbbe tightly marked all night.

"Cannon and Troxell played their best games all year. They shut down McAbee," said Wildcats forward/midfielder Ben Jordan. "He's probably an all-state player this year. Their offense runs through him."

"They denied me the ball," said McAbee. "I didn't play well. First half, I wasn't even a factor."

Williamsport outshot North 6-1 in the first half and got all the scoring it needed in the 15th minute, when Jordan headed in a corner kick from Troxell from six yards out.

"I've been playing a long time with Rhett," said Jordan. "He knows where to put it and I just went up and got it."

But the Hubs turned the tide in the second half, outshooting the 'Cats 6-1 and outcornering them, 5-1. But the back of the net kept eluding them.

"We did everything but score," said North coach Glen Singer, whose squad's only other loss came against Williamsport (2-2 on penalty kicks) in the first round of the Washington County Tournament. "They played 80 minutes and we played 60. That was the difference in the game."

Williamsport keeper Ryan Martin also made a difference, recording three saves for his seventh shutout of the year.

"This is a huge win. It's the biggest win of the season," said Martin. "We got lucky first time, but this time I think we outplayed them, at least in the first half."

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