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Henry, Whitmore steal show in county semis

September 05, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

A pair of midfielders -- North Hagerstown's Alex Henry and Williamsport's Bryan Whitmore -- put their stamps on the semifinals of the Washington County Public Schools Boys Soccer Tournament on Saturday at Mike Callas Stadium.

Henry scored both goals for the Hubs in a 2-0 victory over Clear Spring in the first semifinal. Whitmore notched a goal and an assist with a pair of dazzling runs as the Wildcats blanked Boonsboro 2-0 in the second semifinal, a rematch of last year's final.

Williamsport will look for a second straight county tournament championship on Sept. 19 at 9:30 p.m., when the Wildcats face North at Callas Stadium.

In the 37th minute of the first semifinal, Nelson Moreno made a run up the left side and passed back to Henry, who let a shot fly from 25 yards. It sailed over Blazers keeper Ryan Cooper and into the top right of the goal for a stunning 1-0 halftime lead.

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In the 66th minute, Andre DeSouza's corner kick from the right side curled right to Henry, who rose to meet it and struck a perfect header high into the goal.

"He's strong in the air. He's in the box for a reason," Hubs coach Glen Singer said of Henry. "The first goal, you can't score if you don't shoot, and he took a shot at it."

Clear Spring had a fair share of possession but could only manage seven shots. Only one -- Mathew Blair's close-range effort in the 40th minute -- was truly threatening, and Hubs keeper Caleb Mittel knocked it over the crossbar.

"The (artificial) turf makes a big deal," Blazers coach Mark Myers said. "We played on three inches of grass last night, and on this super slick turf the ball travels faster and our first touches were affected. We played a solid game, we just couldn't get any finish on the ball."

Whitmore started making his mark in the 37th minute of the second semifinal. That's when he beat three defenders with 1-on-1 moves up the left side, then fed Jordan Payne for an easy score and a 1-0 halftime lead.

That was a mere appetizer compared to the brilliance Whitmore unleashed in the 75th minute. Taking control of the ball before the midfield line, he weaved his way up the right side, then back across the field before tucking the ball in the right side of the goal.

"He gets his head up and sees the opportunities, and he's maturing and starting to understand he makes things happen when he plays like that," Wildcats coach Chris Downs said. "We know he's good, he's got to make everyone around him better."

Much like Clear Spring, Boonsboro had its fair share of opportunities but could not convert around Williamsport's goal.

"The first half, we had a lot of possession but just couldn't do anything up top," Warriors coach Brad Delauter said. "We had a lot of opportunities but never finished, never took a shot."

In the fifth-place game, South Hagerstown edged Smithsburg 4-3 by winning a shootout, 4-2.

Matt Suddith scored two goals and Dusten Myers had the other in regulation for the Rebels. Suddith, Myers, Zack Smith and Ben Stone scored the shootout goals.

Sean Scott, Jason Jerwick and Joey Barvir scored in regulation for the Leopards. Clayton Stottlemeyer and Jeremy Boyd had the shootout goals.

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