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Hubs give Pats the boot

October 26, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

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    HAGERSTOWN -- It looked like a short iron shot with the perfect draw. The only difference was that it came from a foot and not a golf club.

    From 35 yards, North Hagerstown's Max Psillas drilled a direct kick that drew perfectly over the head of goalkeeper Nick Moxley in the 66th minute to break a scoreless stalemate and fuel the Hubs to a 2-0 victory over Thomas Johnson on Monday night at Mike Callas Stadium.

    "I saw their keeper on the near post," said Psillas. "I needed to get that shot in. It got us some momentum."

    The win erased the short memories of a 3-2 upset loss to Smithsburg last Thursday. The Hubs (10-4) play at Catoctin Wednesday and need a win to tie Williamsport for the MVAL Antietam title. Then they open Maryland 2A West tournament play at home against Middletown, likely on Saturday.

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"We needed to get the win and get that sour taste out of us," said Psillas, who was moved to the striker position to take advantage of his strong foot. "Coach made the move and I get the penalty, corner and direct kicks."

"(Max) has had a few of those kind of goals because he's got such a strong foot," said Hubs coach Glen Singer.

Less than 10 minutes after Psillas' goal, the Hubs put a major dent in the Patriots' effort.

Surrounded by three defenders about 12 yards to the left of Moxley, Frederick Owusu-Ayim turned and smacked a shot into the net for his eighth goal of the season.

The Hubs made the shots count, as they were the only two on goal in the second half.

"We went to sleep in the last 15 minutes on Thursday," said Singer. "We just had to come back out with some confidence and focus tonight and realize that the game is 80 minutes long. Maybe the loss was a good lesson in realizing that."

North keeper Caleb Mittel was up to the task at his end as he stopped seven shots, and most weren't soft lobs from the feet of the Patriots' attackers.

"(Mittel) is a junior and he just keeps on improving," said Singer.

Thomas Johnson (6-5-3) applied pressure throughout the majority of the second half but couldn't find enough help from the attacking line to dent the scoreboard.

"They might have had a bit more energy in the second half offensively, and we moved a little bit into a defensive mode," said Singer.

Owusu-Ayim had North's first five shots on goal but couldn't connect as the Hubs applied early pressure.

Mittel made an excellent save on a header by TJ's Anthony Stafford in the 12th minute and then another exceptional stop in the 52nd minute on a 24-yard zip off the foot of Bradley Thomas.

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