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Filling the void

Kretzer steps in for Edwards, leads Leopards past Grace

Kretzer steps in for Edwards, leads Leopards past Grace

September 25, 2007|By LARRY YANOS

SMITHSBURG - Steve Kretzer scored in the 71st minute as Smithsburg edged Grace Academy 1-0 in boys soccer Monday.

Immediately after the goal, Kretzer pointed toward the Smithsburg sidelines.

"That goal was for Josh. I acknowledged him," Kretzer said. "He's been terrific all season and I'm glad I could help the offense tonight."

Kretzer was referring to Josh Edwards, the leading scorer in Washington County with nine goals.

Edwards sprained his ankle during Saturday's county championship game at School Stadium and will be sidelined for two weeks.

"I wouldn't say we came out flat, I think it just took us a little time to adjust without Josh in the lineup," Smithsburg coach Paul Newman said. "You can't lose an offensive threat like that and not feel it."

Newman said the county champion Leopards didn't take previously unbeaten Grace (8-1) lightly.

"They're good. We knew it would be tough," Newman said. "They won eight straight games and we figured it would be a tight game."

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Both Smithsburg goalkeeper Brett Toms - who recorded his second straight shutout - and Grace goalkeeper Kenny Frederickson turned in strong efforts.

Smithsburg dominated the action in the first half, but sophomore Frederickson made save after save.

The Leopards (5-2) finally broke through when Kretzer got behind the Grace defense and drilled home the game-winning goal from 20 yards out. It was his first goal of the season.

"I don't think any goalie in the world could have stopped that shot," Newman said.

Kretzer said he went wide and found an opening in the defense.

"When I kicked it, I knew it was good," Kretzer said. "We were sore and tired from Saturday but we got the job done."

While disappointed, Grace coach Andy Serafini praised his team's efforts.

"We lost six seniors and we're very young this year," Serafini said. "I can't fault the effort. This is the best team we've faced all year. I appreciate Paul giving us an opportunity to play a public school team. I think we did very well."

Newman also praised the work of goalkeeper Toms.

"They had some opportunities but Brett was outstanding," Newman said of the junior. "We have a lot of confidence with him in goal."

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