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North does just enough to nip Knights

Hubs make early goal stand up to reach region finals.

Hubs make early goal stand up to reach region finals.

November 05, 2002|by CURT HORNBECKER / Staff Correspondent

Had Glen Singer not seen it with his own eyes, he would never have believed it was possible.

He was less surprised that his North Hagerstown boys soccer team defeated Middletown in the Maryland Class 2A West Regional semifinal at School Stadium Monday night than he was at the 1-0 final score.

"We got lucky," said Singer. "One goal should never be enough to beat Middletown. They deserve a lot of credit. They took us out of our game."

The win propels North to the regional finals later this week against the winner of Monday's Hammond-Atholton contest.

The Hubs (14-2) had to hold on for 78 minutes, as Mikael Tigrett provide the only score of the game in the second minute, slipping through a hole in the Knights' defense and rolling a shot past Middletown goal keeper Danny Favarulo.

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The rest was up to a North defense that limited the Knights (8-7-1) to just three shots on goal all evening, only one of which required the services of goalkeeper Brian Williamson.

"We just had to contain them, and not give them an opportunity to take a shot on goal," said North defender Ryan Flurie. "We always try to shut them down and take them out of their game. We've only allowed five goals all year, and three of those were on penalty kicks."

"We stayed pretty well organized (defensively)," said Singer. "Mostly they were trying to control the game, and with a one-goal lead, all they need was one chance to tie it up."

Despite the lack of shots, Middletown coach Bob Sheffler was not disappointed with his offensive effort, especially compared to the 3-0 pasting at the hands of the Hubs three weeks ago when North also jumped out to an early lead.

"We were more composed (than in the last game against the Hubs), even though we gave up the early goal again," said Sheffler. "We tried to run with them in the last game, and we just couldn't do it. Tonight, our game plan was to settle in, take a defensive posture, and try to score off of transition. Obviously, we would have preferred to have a lead or be tied, but being down 1-0 was not a disappointing first half."

While Singer was obviously pleased that his squad was able to get the early advantage, it may have been a mixed blessing.

"It always feels good to score early. It takes some of the pressure off," said Singer. "But scoring in the second minute might have been a little too early. I think we relaxed a little too much."

While not as stingy, Middletown's defense managed to stop all but one of North's 20 shots on goal, with Favarulo getting credit for 14 saves.

"They put a lot of pressure on the ball, and dropped 10 players behind the ball," said Singer. "They cut off the passing lanes, and made it difficult to penetrate."

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