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Hubs shut down Wildcats

October 02, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

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    WILLIAMSPORT -- Nelson Moreno experienced the ultimate turning point.

    North Hagerstown's striker not only changed his mind in mid-motion, he changed the game.

    Moreno went against his first instinct and turned a crossing pass into a shot that squirted under Williamsport goalkeeper Alex Aleshire for a goal in the 32nd minute on Thursday to lead the Hubs to a 1-0 MVAL Antietam victory over the Wildcats.

    "I got a nice flat pass and I was looking to make a cross and it turned into a shot," Moreno said. "I was really surprised."

    With good reason.

    The goal ended a 112-minute scoreless streak between the two teams. Their last meeting was a scoreless tie in the Washington County Tournament championship game that North won on penalty kicks two weeks ago. This meeting ended as the Hubs' fifth straight shutout.

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It wasn't the crispest of goals, but it was the one that counted most.

North (7-3, 2-0) worked the ball up the field when a crossing pass hit Andre DeSouza breaking in from the right side. DeSouza fed it to Moreno, who was stationed about 12 yards away from the left side of the goal.

Moreno closed in and looked to pass to a streaking Frederick Owusu-Ayim on the right side, but struck a low, skidding shot that Aleshire went down to smother. When the Williamsport goalie rolled to his side, the ball squirted from under his armpit and slowly rolled over the goal line.

"We got real fortunate," said North coach Glen Singer. "Alex is a great goalkeeper. We kept the ball on the ground. We got a couple of shots and you can't win unless you shoot."

Prime scoring opportunities were at a premium. The two teams combined for 35 attempts, but few were uncontested.

"This was another classic North-Williamsport battle," said Williamsport coach Chris Downs. "We just can't find a way to get to the right side of it. Alex was partially obstructed on the shot and it skidded by him. We didn't pick (Aleshire) up."

"That's what happens sometimes. Good teams overcome situations like this. We worked hard, but didn't get rewarded for it. It's frustrating."

The majority of the game was an end-to-end battle with each team looking for the slightest opening to shoot. Most shots were in crowds, with Aleshire and North goalkeeper Caleb Mittel squeezing through to make the needed stops.

The game opened up in the final five minutes, with each team getting its best chances to score, but the goalies were equal to the task.

Williamsport (4-4-2, 1-1) was on the doorstep in the final 30 seconds with a corner kick. Cody Gardenhour lofted the ball in front of the Hubs' goal mouth and Mittel went up to slap it away and protect the victory.

"I didn't have time to go up and catch it," Mittel said. "I was looking for the defense to push the ball out and it sailed across the goal. My defense was there the whole game and I relied on it."

North had a 21-14 shooting edge while both goalkeepers collected nine saves.

"Williamsport had us on our heels for most of the game," Singer said. "Actually, you don't always score on the best chances. We got a break."

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