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Marriner's golden goal lifts Rebels

September 10, 2004|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

The Grace Academy boys soccer team painted a colorful rainbow with its shots and corner kicks Thursday night at School Stadium.

Unluckily for the Knights, though, South Hagerstown found the golden goal at the end of it.

Senior Sean Marriner scored in the third minute of sudden-death overtime to lift the Rebels to a 2-1 win over Grace, which had advantages of 16-7 in shots and 11-1 in corners.

"I didn't play 80 minutes to lose this game," said Marriner, who couldn't convert on his first attempt to win it in OT.

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After Ben Cafarelli was fouled in the box, Marriner was sent out to take the penalty kick against Grace goalie Andy Eyler.

"I could have sworn he was rocking, getting ready to dive. It was a 50-50 for him," Marriner said. "I've never been a finesse player, so I just went straight down the middle."

But Eyler didn't budge, deflecting the shot back into play. Marriner quickly grabbed his own rebound and finally drove it home.

"I was just like, 'I've got to get that ball,'" Marriner said. "It's been since my freshman year that we last won a game. We've been mocked in school. But this season, we have a chance."

Actually, it's only been about a week since South, which went winless in 2002 and 2003, last won. The Rebels (2-2) opened the season with a 3-0 win over Clear Spring.

"Two wins in one season hasn't happened in quite a while. Well, actually, just one win," South coach Jim Mills said. "I like it. It's exciting, great for the fans."

The Knights, meanwhile, have tasted plenty of success recently. They've won three of the last four Mason Dixon Christian Conference titles and entered Thursday's game 3-0.

Grace didn't waste any time seizing control.

"The whole game was in our end," Knights coach John Basore said. "We just lost our patience and rushed some shots."

Knights star Jordan Hanft, double-teamed most of the night, twice was denied by the crossbar in a scoreless first half.

South took a 1-0 lead on its fifth and final shot of regulation, coming in the 11th minute of the second half, as Randy Ransier scored off David West's cross.

Zack Koontz tied it for Grace 11 minutes later, scoring unassisted from 6 yards out.

The Knights had many more opportunities, but couldn't convert.

"We dominated the whole second half. That's for sure," Basore said. "But they deserved to win, because, no matter how you look at it, they outscored us."

South keeper Stephen Ampadu, playing with a sore back, made seven saves. During the six minutes he rested on the bench in the second half, Justin Higgins held off the Knights with two saves.

Eyler had four saves for Grace.

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