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Wildcats win 1A West crown

November 09, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

CUMBERLAND, Md. - After a stirring upset of rival Boonsboro on Friday night, one might have pondered how much the Williamsport boys soccer team had left in the tank of heading into the Maryland Class 1A West championship match.

The question was answered with positive results as the Wildcats clawed their way to a 2-1 victory over Beall on Tuesday night at Greenway Avenue Stadium, avenging a region semifinal loss from last year and giving the Wildcats their second trip to the state semifinals in the last three years.

Williamsport (11-5-1) will play Pocomoke or Mardela on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Anne Arundel Community College in the state semis.

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"(David) Hines was our MVP tonight ... there is no doubt about that," said Williamsport coach Carlos Reyes. "(Beall) put some heat on us and he kept us in the game, especially after our first goal."

Hines, one of nine Wildcat seniors looking for a state title, was fabulous in goal as he stopped 11 Mountaineer shots, allowing only a goal in the 78th minute that spoiled a shutout.

"They came at me pretty good," said Hines. "The Boonsboro game was big, but this one was huge tonight and the next one gets even bigger."

Only one shot was taken in the first 10 minutes as both teams looked to be sizing one another up. Williamsport senior Matt Oliver then started getting into the thick of things.

In the 13th minute he drilled a left-footed shot that Beall keeper Josh Bittner managed to save. Two minutes later, Oliver was back challenging Bittner and gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead when he controlled a loose ball off his chest and whistled it past the keeper.

"I was getting open early and finding some space," said Oliver.

Beall suddenly became more aggressive offensively and started peppering Hines with shots for a 15-minute period, but the Wildcats keeper responded with four highlight-reel saves.

He stopped a 20-yard shot that started out wide and curled inward, went fully extended for a save on the right side of the goal, went high to the bar for a third stop and then to his right in the 37th minute to block a direct kick.

With Beall (12-5) being more aggressive, Reyes talked to his team at halftime about not letting up with the lead.

"I told them they had to keep the pressure on," Reyes said. "(Beall) was becoming dominant in their attack and we had to respond."

Indeed, the Wildcats did respond, taking a 2-0 margin in the 44th minute when senior Charlie Spoonire, staring point blank at the goal just inside the left corner of the penalty box, powered a shot that tipped off the hands of Bittner and straight to the back of the net.

"I was going for a low shot because (Bittner) is such a big guy," said Spoonire. "I got it up a touch but it was strong enough to go off his hand."

In the 63rd minute, with the Wildcats continuing to play effectively on the back line of defense following the second goal, Hines leaped high to the crossbar for a save, but came down awkwardly on his left ankle.

Four minutes later, Hines stopped a shot with Beall's Thomas Norris virtually hanging on his back.

Later, Norris scored from 15 yards out on the right side to give Beall hope but Williamsport kept the Mountaineers from further penetration, setting off a dance to the state tournament.

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