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Indians' program taking big steps

September 29, 2006|by ANDREW MASON and DAN KAUFFMAN

Despite being outshot 29-5, No. 7 Berkeley Springs upset then-No. 6 Mercersburg Academy 3-2 on Wednesday for what might be considered the biggest victory in the three-year history of the Indians' varsity girls soccer program.

"We shouldn't have won," said Berkeley Springs coach Rocky Riffle, whose team improved to 9-5-1. "But we did, and I'm happy about that."

The victory was monumental. It was the Indians' first victory over a Herald-Mail-ranked opponent, vaulting them into the rankings for the first time. And, most importantly according to Riffle, it was their ninth win this season, one more than they had all of last year, when they went 8-10-2. In 2004, their first season, they only won one match.

"We're moving on up to the east side, my man," Riffle said. "We really wanted to get over that hump of eight wins from last year. And we still have five games to play. I hope to go undefeated the rest of the way."

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Sophomores Rebecca Trump and Corie Riffle lead Berkeley Springs with 17 goals each.

"I've got two really good things going for me - Corie and Rebecca," Riffle said. "And I have the counterattack."

That's junior midfielder Megan Mock, the state-champion track and field athlete.

"(Mock) is a very good athlete, a really high-spirited kid, always running and always wanting pizza to eat," Riffle said. "She's really wild. She can make the kicks that nobody else can."

There's no reason to think the Indians, whose roster is mostly comprised of sophomores and juniors, won't only be better next season.

"We're doing nothing but getting stronger," Riffle said. "There are more kids playing soccer than any other sport in Morgan County right now. There are 305 kids playing recreational soccer, and that doesn't include the high school teams."

The hot list

No area boys soccer teams are hotter than No. 1 Jefferson and No. 5 McConnellsburg, the last two unbeaten teams.

The Cougars (12-0-1) have outscored opponents 59-8, by far the largest goal differential in the area - Greencastle (9-2) is second with a 49-11 mark, 13 behind. Their only mini-stumble was a 1-1 tie against No. 4 Hedgesville (9-2-1), which Jefferson defeated 1-0 in a rematch. The Cougars also hold two wins over No. 6 Martinsburg (7-4-1) by 3-0 and 5-0 scores.

Jefferson spreads the offensive wealth around, with five players - Matt Tiano, D.J. Upson, Chris Lambert, Aaron Kelly and Adam Roque - each having 18 or more points so far this season. Tiano has scored a goal in each of the Cougars' last six games.

The Spartans have reeled off nine straight wins to start the season, outscoring their opponents, 38-8 - the third best goal differential in the area. Evan Mellott ranks third in the area with 18 goals, and the defense has three shutouts and allowed more than one goal only once, in a 4-3 win over Shalom Christian. Mellott has nine goals in McConnellsburg's last three games.

Grace Academy (7-1-1) has won five straight after Shalom handed the Knights their only loss, 2-1, on Sept. 12. In addition to its Mason Dixon Christian Conference victories, Grace also holds wins over South Hagerstown and St. Maria Goretti.

Greencastle (9-2) bounced back from a 3-0 loss to Chambersburg on Sept. 16 - a game Treavor Gelsinger missed because he was visiting the Penn State campus he'll call home next fall - with four straight wins. Gelsinger, the 2005 Herald-Mail Player of the Year, has 22 goals and five assists in 10 games to pick up right where he left off.

Clear Spring's Adam Reid entered this season without a single varsity goal; he had eight in the Blazers' first six games this season, six of them coming in the last three.

Heritage Academy's Steven Barthalow has scored seven of his 10 goals this season in the Eagles' last three games. Four games ago, he had three assists.

Shalom's duo of Derek Oberholzer (10 goals, five assists) and Jae Cheon (11 goals) has carried the Flames to an 8-2 record. Either Oberholzer or Cheon has scored in every game, and they've both scored in five games. Each scored twice in a victory over Carroll Christian on Sept. 18.

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