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'Dogs make sure Cougars have no middle ground

September 06, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The unknowns left the Jefferson's boys soccer team scratching its head Wednesday night.

A pair of little-known sophomore reserves scored Martinsburg's first two goals, and Kent Lemaster added the third as the Bulldogs won a battle of unbeatens 3-1, leaving Cougars coach Doug Hunt with few positives to take from the game.

"We took a step backwards tonight from what we've been doing all season," said Hunt, whose team fell to 5-1-1. "We let them control the midfield. That's what we want to do."

It wasn't just the midfield Hunt was unhappy with. The Cougars lacked a finishing touch around the goal, he said. At its next practice, Hunt said his team will focus on "everything," but stopped short of calling the game a throwaway.

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"There were periods of the game where we controlled the game," he said. "We created a lot of opportunities, but we just didn't finish them. You have to do more than just create opportunities, you have to take advantage of them."

Martinsburg (3-0-1) did just that, rebounding from Saturday's tie with Parkersburg South, a game coach Greg Miller said he felt should have been a win.

The Bulldogs were outshot 17-15 but forced Jefferson keeper Matt Robins to try to make saves on seven of those shots. He succeeded on four.

Miller, too, praised the Martinsburg midfield, led by Lemaster, who added an assist, and Mike Seem, though he saved his kindest words for his bench performers.

"We don't have any one superstar, so we need ball control all the way," Miller said. "When you control the flow of the midfield, you control the flow of the game."

That control produced a goal in the game's 19th minute, as Lemaster tracked down the ball in the left corner and advanced it along the end line to sophomore reserve Aaron Anderson. Anderson sent a left-footed cross just feet in front of Robins to the waiting foot of Adam Mauck, a fellow sophomore reserve who put it in from point-blank range.

"They're both excellent players," Miller said of Mauck and Anderson. "They both could probably start on most varsity teams."

In the 39th minute, Lemaster played the ball ahead to a streaking Roger Ausherman, who also serves as the backup keeper. Ausherman uncorked a left-footed blast past the diving Robins and into the left side of the goal for a 2-0 lead.

Jefferson, though, struck back quickly when Chris Lambert gained control of a loose ball in front of the Martinsburg goal and slammed it past Nathaniel Scofield just seconds before halftime. It was his seventh goal of the season.

Lemaster's goal was the only one scored in the second half. He corralled a bouncing ball onto his right foot and, with a Cougars defender on each side and Robins charging out at him, punched one past everybody from 20 yards out in the 56th minute.

Fittingly, the assist came from Gavin Washington, another sophomore backup.

"I've got great subs this year," Miller said. "They are really coming around this year."

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