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Blazers make Long night for Cougars

September 30, 2009|By CHRIS CARTER

THURMONT, Md. -- Clear Spring's Alec Long basically made a guarantee to his goalie Tuesday night against Catoctin.

"I told him I was going to go out and score a goal for us after halftime," Long said.

The Blazers' senior captain wasted no time in holding himself accountable.

Long scored just over one minute into the second half to give Clear Spring a two-goal lead, allowing the Blazers to dominate possession for the remaining 39 minutes to stake a 2-0 win over the Cougars.

"I was just ready. It was 1-0 and I wanted to win," Long said. "We needed another goal and Matt (Blair) gave me a good ball to score on. I think that set the momentum for the second half because we were winning a lot more balls after that."

The Blazers (6-2) held Catoctin without a shot in the second half. The only times the Cougars (0-8) even got a sniff at the goal were on a pair of free kicks from 25 yards. But even those opportunities stood little chance against steady headwinds.

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Clear Spring held a 14-3 advantage in shots and a 6-0 edge in corner kicks. All six corners came in the second half.

"We've been shuffling players around a lot lately trying to increase shot totals," said Clear Spring coach Mark Myers. "The guys communicate well on the field and we've been doing a good job as far as shots for and against.

"When we got the wind, that 12th man on our side, we were able to control the ball a lot more."

With the wind at its backs in the second half, the 1-0 lead Clear Spring took into halftime had a good chance at holding steady. That score came when Brandon Kesselring stuck a penalty kick in the back left corner of the net in the 32nd minute.

"Any time you give up a penalty kick, it hurts, especially because I thought it was a bit unlucky," said Catoctin coach Bob Viti. "But the second resulted because because the defense just wasn't being patient."

Luck and patience aside, Catoctin could have faced a much bigger deficit if not for first-year goalie Ben Tylicki. The Cougars junior had nine saves -- the majority from close range -- and kept his team within reach.

"He's been absolutely outstanding each game out for us this year," said Viti, who was complimented by Myers after the game on the play of his goalie. "Despite the scores we've had against us, virtually none of the goals have been against (Tylicki)."

The Blazers, who installed a new 3-4-3 formation Tuesday, improved to 6-0 against teams not named North Hagerstown. Meanwhile, Catoctin is yet to scratch the win column and have only one win since the start of the 2008 season, according to Viti.

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