Musselman girls, Martinsburg boys reach section finals

October 17, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Amber Smith didn't feel like waiting any longer to help the No. 6 Musselman girls soccer team make a little history Tuesday night.

Against her coach's orders, Smith rushed a direct kick in the 30th minute of the Applemen's 3-1 win over No. 5 Martinsburg in the Region II Section 4 semifinals, their first postseason win since 2001 and first over Jefferson, Hedgesville or Martinsburg.

Coach Ryan Lawn screamed at Smith to wait for Sarah Talbott to join the play, then screamed in joy when the request fell on the deaf ears of Smith, who bent a shot inside the right post from 26 yards out.

Smith said she never even heard Lawn.

"I think I was just kind of out of it, initially," Smith said. "I thought it was going in, and it did. It's just the best feeling."


A pair of goals from Raychelle Lewis padded the lead in the first of two games played at Martinsburg's Cobourn Field. The No. 3 Martinsburg boys defeated Hedgesville 3-1 and will host Thursday's championship against No. 5 Jefferson.

Musselman's girls will face No. 3 Jefferson the same night. Martinsburg, meanwhile, saw its season end.

"We just ... I don't know," said coach Meredith Matczak, whose team finished 9-4-3. "I think we worked hard, we just didn't get a couple bounces. All those little things that got us rolling and winning games were missing tonight. We were waiting for them to happen, but they never happened."

Smith's goal came after a handball was called just a few yards in front of the box, and Lewis scored just a minute before halftime. She handled a hip-high bouncing ball by whirling her left leg around, causing a blooper that went over the head of keeper Victoria Curtis.

Lewis thought the ball landed on top of the net, and turned to run down the field. Lawn, too, had no idea it was a goal.

"I saw it arc and slide down the net," Lawn said. "Nobody knew until the keeper turned around and picked it out. Really, those were two lucky goals."

Martinsburg's Kristen Marshall scored in the 74th minute to make it 2-1, but Lewis added the clincher only three minutes later on an assist from Morgan Harms.

The win extended Musselman's school record for wins. The Applemen are now 15-4-2 and have a sectional win to couple with 2001's 4-3 victory over Hampshire.

"I can't even describe it," Smith said. "I'm a senior, and this was the biggest game of my whole high school career. I can't even describe it."

Matczak, too, was almost speechless. "There are no words for this awful of a feeling," she said.

The Bulldogs boys fared much better, scoring twice in the first 12 minutes to take control of their game. It started in the fifth minute, when Kent Lemaster found Jeremy Everson for a goal.

Seven minutes later, Mike Seem scored from a seemingly impossible angle, only steps in front of the touch line on the right side of the field. His groundball shot found its way past Dillon Seibert, making only his fourth start of the year.

Hedgesville coach Chris Ruest said he moved Kris Eichelberger out of the net because of his offensive abilities. Eichelberger scored a goal in the 77th minute off an assist from Dylan Roberts.

Quickness, or a lack thereof, was the key to the game, Ruest said.

"One of the things that becomes difficult for us is the speed of play is hard to adjust to," Ruest said. "We don't play on this (artificial) surface all the time. It becomes an advantage to the team who gets to play on it all the time.

"The reality of it is they made a few more plays tonight, especially early, and were able to win the game."

Lemaster added a goal in the 66th minute as the Bulldogs moved to 9-5-5. Hedgesville finished 4-12-4.

"We played a great game for the first 10 minutes, then it was a little lackluster after that," Martinsburg coach Greg Miller said.

Miller will be hoping for a complete game against the Cougars, who were swept in two games against Martinsburg this year.

"Jefferson, they're a good team. They're quick, they're fast. We gotta play team ball, and the midfield has to dominate the game."

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