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Jefferson's teams are hot, hot, hot

October 13, 2006|by ANDREW MASON and DAN KAUFFMAN

Jefferson boys soccer coach Doug Hunt knew he had a squad loaded with potential coming into this season. He had no idea his No. 1 Cougars would be quite this good.

"They sort of surprised me with the quality of their team play," Hunt said. "They're really unselfish. When you talk about a team, this group of young men really exemplify the whole team concept. Several guys play out of position, giving up scoring opportunities to do all the little things that make a team successful."

At 17-0-1 heading into its final regular-season game Saturday at Linsly, Jefferson is rolling into the West Virginia sectional playoffs, which open Tuesday.

Hunt credited captains David Fuelhart, Adam Roque and Matt Tiano for being the catalysts for the Cougars' undefeated run.

"David, he fires the defense, Adam fires the midfield and certainly Matt up front is getting the job done for us," said Hunt.

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Tiano is tied for sixth in he Tri-State area with 50 points this season (20 goals, 10 assists). But he's merely one of the Cougars' many attacking options: D.J. Upson (18 goals), Chris Lambert (10 goals, 11 assists), Roque (seven goals, 11 assists) and Aaron Kelly (five goals, 18 assists) all have at least 25 points, making Jefferson the only team to boast five players with that many. Only one other team - No. 3 Greencastle - has as many as three 25-point scorers, and several teams don't have any.

"That certainly is a luxury not many coaches have," Hunt said. "It gives us balance to the point where a team cannot just clamp down on one or two guys, they have to play us straight-up. If they're double-teaming a guy, that opens up another guy, and that's where the unselfishness comes in. It feeds into the whole team approach in a positive way."

While Roque gets a lot of attention as the Cougars' attacking center midfielder, Jefferson's two defensive center midfielders - Joachin Romero and Chris Geigel - earned praise from Hunt.

"They do a lot of the grunt work and don't get the notice for it," Hunt said. "A lot of our goals, if you can trace them back, they started with one of those guys, and defensively, they're shutting down the other teams' center midfielders."

The Cougars host Musselman (7-7-3) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in one sectional semifinal, while No. 4 Martinsburg (11-6-1) hosts No. 6 Hedgesville (10-4-1) in the other semifinal, also at 7 p.m.

"This is one of the most competitive sections in the state," Hunt said. "There are three teams that can win the section, and Musselman can beat anyone on any given day. Everybody's 0-0, we're all starting on a clean sheet."

Reid hits century mark

Martinsburg senior Trent Reid's 100th varsity goal was four years in the making, ever since he broke into the lineup as a freshman and flashed promise with his first 13 goals and seven assists.

Reid reached the 100-goal milestone Wednesday, scoring four times against Musselman in an 8-0 victory.

"It means a lot," Reid said. "It's one of those records not a lot of people reach. As a freshman, I had no idea I'd make it this far, but coming into this season I thought I could make it. Then I got injured and missed eight games. One hundred (goals) is great, but I'm just glad to be playing again."

"When he was a freshman trying out ... he had tremendous skills," Bulldogs coach Greg Miller said. "I thought he was left-footed until the third game. ... Every shot I'd see him take was with his left foot. ... Then he told me, 'I'm not left-footed' and I said, 'What?' If he could have played all the games this year he'd probably have 40 or 50 goals.

"We've been playing a pretty rough schedule - one of the toughest in the state - and seeing all these other players, there's no comparison. He's far and above any player I've seen in the state so far."

Reid's injury - a quadriceps tear - forced him to miss two games against Jefferson and one against Hedgesville. He's looking forward to the playoffs for a chance to participate in the Panhandle rivalries.

"It was hard," Reid said about missing the rivalry games earlier this season. "Soccer is pretty much my life, and when I couldn't do that, I went to practice and just watched, and it would kill me to watch Jefferson and Hedgesville. The rivalries are fun to play in. I'm really excited (for the playoffs). Most of my friends on my travel team play on Jefferson. They're just waiting to beat me. They've been playing together their whole lives, and that's why they want it so bad."

Jefferson girls rolling

No. 3 Jefferson has the area's longest winning streak in girls soccer.

Since falling 3-2 to University in their season opener Aug. 19, the Cougars, through Wednesday, have won 14 straight, with two regular-season games remaining before next week's sectional playoffs.

"This season has just been a total pleasure," Jefferson fifth-year coach Dunnie Bache said. "And we're not done yet."

He said the Cougars, who finished 8-8-1 last year, are aiming to make their second West Virginia state final-four appearance, and first of this millennium.

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