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Cougars go from snooze to cruise

September 13, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

BOONSBORO - First, the short story about Tuesday's Jefferson-Boonsboro boys soccer match, courtesy of Warriors coach Brad Distad:

"I don't think I've ever seen us play a better 10 or 15 minutes as we did at the start. Then the rest of the game was deplorable."

Mark Connelly's penalty-kick goal in the 11th minute gave Boonsboro a 1-0 lead before Jefferson spent the next 69 minutes making sure that was the last positive moment the Warriors enjoyed. D.J. Upson scored twice and Chris Lambert and Matt Tiano added goals as Jefferson remained unbeaten with a 4-1 victory.

"We came out not expecting our opponent to be as skillful as they were," Jefferson coach Doug Hunt said. "We got a wake-up call with the penalty kick, and once we got it, we started controlling the ball. I think in the second half we really started to dominate."

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Early, the Warriors (1-3) controlled play in Jefferson's half. In the 10th minute, Connelly hit the left post with a shot which was then cleared past the goal line for a corner kick.

Boonsboro played a short corner to Shane Lowery, who was tripped just inside the corner of the 18-yard box, leading to the penalty kick which Connelly buried into the back of the net for the early lead.

The Warriors' offside trap frustrated the speedy Cougars early and continued to hinder them throughout the game. But as Jefferson took control of the match, the Cougars' repeated long balls over the trap and subsequent sprints to the ball wore down the Warriors.

In the 20th minute, Upson got loose up the left side, beat two defenders on the dribble and lofted a chip shot over Boonsboro keeper Jake Burtner to tie it at 1-1. In the 26th, Lambert made a similar run up the left side, cutting inside and slotting a low shot past Burtner for a 2-1 halftime lead.

Boonsboro's offensive attack went missing, and the Warriors never found it again. Aside from one counterattack in the second half - at the end of which Connelly's shot went right to Jefferson keeper Derek Walls - Boonsboro failed to maintain possession.

Meanwhile, the Cougars kept on coming, sending long balls from the back to the corners and up the middle to consistently apply pressure. The result: Goals by Tiano in the 61st minute and Upson in the 71st that put the game out of reach.

"Playing the ball to the flag is a key for us," said Upson, who has 12 goals this season. "Coach tells us to take it to the flags, and that's how we score all our goals."

Boonsboro had three shots in the opening 12 minutes and four the rest of the way as Jefferson put the clamps on.

"Our offside trap was working, but you can't live off that alone," Distad said. "We never controlled the ball in the second half. We never had more than two passes in a row. We just couldn't string anything together."

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