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Hunt's back in state-tourney contention with Cougars

October 19, 2007|By JOHN COOPER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Jefferson boys soccer coach Doug Hunt thinks he might have found the perfect painkiller for his ailing back - a playoff win over rival Martinsburg.

Chris Lambert scored two first-half goals, and the Cougars' defenders adequately protected the lead Thursday as they avenged two regular-season losses to the Bulldogs, beating them 2-1 in the West Virginia Region II Section 4 championship.

Jefferson (13-5-4) will play at Musselman on Tuesday against the winner of Berkeley Springs-Hampshire. Two more wins will give the Cougars their second straight trip to the state tournament in Beckley.

That long of a bus ride might be a little painful for Hunt, who is dealing with a herniated disc in his back. Remembering Thursday's win might provide a reprieve from the discomfort, however.

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"Oh yeah, this helps," Hunt said, finally getting to take a seat after standing during the game. "It feels good."

The Bulldogs (10-6-4) outshot Jefferson 14-8 but only managed Mike Seem's penalty-kick goal in the 75th minute. Lambert started the Cougars' scoring in the 12th minute, when he took a pass from Zach Creamer, moved left toward the center of the field and ripped a left-footed shot past Nathaniel Scofield and into the upper-left portion of the goal.

Eight minutes later, he took a pass from Joaquin Romero and, keeping the ball on his left foot and a defender on his right hip, hit a grounder just to the left of Scofield and into the goal.

Martinsburg coach Greg Miller blamed both goals, Lambert's 17th and 18th of the year, on missed defensive assignments.

"He hit two very nice shots," Miller said. "He had a lot of space and he shouldn't have."

Hunt said, "He had two good looks and he put them in. I think it was huge. It not only gave us the momentum, it gave us a little cushion so if we made a mistake we could recover. Luckily, we played nearly perfect in the back."

Neither coach knew the call that led to Seem's penalty kick. Miller later found out it was too little too late.

"They just played so flat. If they played with the intensity they had in the last 10 minutes in the first 20 minutes ..." Miller said.

Scofield made four saves for the Bulldogs, while Matt Robins stopped five shots for Jefferson. Neither team converted a corner kick, with Jefferson getting the edge in opportunities 5-3.

Martinsburg's last chance came on a direct kick from 30 yards out in the 78th minute by Seem, who did not get much behind the shot. Robins picked it up easily.

"We had our chances in the first half and, thankfully, we put them away," Hunt said.

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