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Blazers continue turnaround, advance to 1A West final

November 04, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

CLEAR SPRING - Success had a strange effect on Andrew Beadle.

All the action whirled around the Clear Spring goalie as he defended the Blazers' net from Fort Hill on Friday in the Maryland Class 1A West boys soccer semifinals. He stood his ground and took everything the Sentinels fired at him.

But when Nick Smith scored on a backward header in the 78th minute to ice Clear Spring's 2-0 victory, Beadle stood at the other end of the field watching in awe.

"I wasn't afraid," Beadle said. "But when I saw that goal go in, I let out a sigh of relief. ... I almost cried."

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Emotions ran high as Clear Spring continued its almost miraculous turnaround. The Blazers won their 12th game of the year and advanced to Tuesday's region final match at Beall after finishing 1-13-1 last year.

"The team chemistry is a lot better this year," Beadle said. "We have a lot of the same guys back and we do everything together."

The Blazers (12-4) did it in unison Friday, controlling the game early with a wide-open attack led by Adam Reid up the sidelines. Then they stood up to Fort Hill's best shots as the game turned physical late as the Sentinels unleashed everything to try and tie the score at 1-1 before the late goal.

But Beadle stood his ground, recording 15 saves for his seventh shutout of the season.

"He's built up his self-confidence," Clear Spring coach Greg Hoff said. "His teammates trust him and they love him back there."

Clear Spring came out and gave its best shot early, even though it might have been considered a shot in the dark.

"Both these teams played with a lot of heart," Hoff said. "We came out here not knowing anything about this team. We didn't scout them. We just came out feeling around and not knowing what to expect."

Reid became a threat Fort Hill had trouble handling, working the right sideline.

Reid was on the receiving end of a long, lofted pass and worked it along the side in the 16th minute. He curled down into the box, drawing three Fort Hill defenders.

Reid flicked a pass out to Francesco Scotto Dicarlo in the top right corner of the box, where he fired it in the top left corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.

The Blazers protected the lead despite Fort Hill turning up the pressure.

Beadle shut down some prime Sentinels shots. The toughest might have been in the 62nd minute when Patrick Serpone launched a header at point-blank range off a corner kick but was stuffed. Beadle also made two consecutive saves in the 76th minute, crumbling to the ground on the second after being hit in the back.

It was all worthwhile after Smith's goal in the 78th minute.

"I wouldn't say that I was surprised of where we're at," Hoff said. "We had the talent to be a winner last year, but the season didn't show it. We're not talking about our season. We are just playing now to be able to play another game."

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