Applemen Rouse Bulldogs' ire

October 19, 2005|by DAN KAUFFMAN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After Musselman scored twice in a three-minute span to take a stunning 2-1 lead over No. 5 Martinsburg with 15 minutes left in regulation of the W.Va. AAA Region II Section 4 boys soccer semifinal, Martinsburg senior Will Rouse got mad.

"I was frustrated," Rouse said. "I just wanted the ball."

Rouse got it repeatedly down the stretch - and twice, the next place it went was the back of the net.

With the Bulldogs on the ropes, Rouse's spin and shot in the 70th minute tied it at 2-2, before his goal in the seventh minute of the second overtime gave Martinsburg a 3-2 victory and a date at home against Jefferson in Thursday's sectional final.


"He makes the big plays," Martinsburg coach Greg Miller said of Rouse.

Before Rouse went on his crusade, the underdog Applemen had made the two biggest plays.

Mike Seem's lofted chip shot over Musselman keeper James Carmichael in the 10th minute gave Martinsburg (14-4-3) a 1-0 halftime lead.

It stayed that way 23 minutes into the second half - and that's when the expected went right out the window.

With the Bulldogs having their way, the Applemen found some space on a counterattack. The bouncing ball worked its way to Cory Popanz, who one-timed a low laser past Martinsburg keeper Nathaniel Scofield into the left corner to tie the game.

Three minutes later, a Martinsburg clearing attempt went right to Jamie Kees at midfield. Quickly, he fired a shot from 50 yards that caught Scofield completely off-guard. The ball short-hopped past the sprawling Scofield and into the goal.

The cheers from Applemen fans - and the gasps from Bulldogs supporters - made it clear the unexpected had just happened.

"We really thought we had them," Musselman coach Gino Marchese said. "They kind of overlooked us a little bit, and we took advantage of it."

Enter Rouse, whose individual brilliance saved the Bulldogs.

It took all of five minutes for Rouse to even the score, taking a pass in the middle from 20 yards out and in one motion pivoting and firing a rocket that sneaked just under the crossbar into the left side of the goal.

"Coach yelled at me to shoot, and as soon as I turned around, I did," Rouse said. "I thought it was going high, then it dipped."

Then late in the second overtime, Rouse made a run up the left sideline, cut back to lose a defender, made two dribbles toward the goal and let loose another high shot into the top right corner for the lead.

"I got the ball in the corner, and someone was yelling for me to drop it, but I knew I was going to shoot," Rouse said. "I didn't even see it go in, I just heard the crowd go crazy, so I knew."

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