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Wildcats fall in a shootout

November 11, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

FROSTBURG, Md. -- For the second straight year, Williamsport's boys soccer team lost the Maryland Class 1A West final in a penalty shootout.

"This is getting a little old," Wildcats coach Chris Downs said.

No. 1-seed Mountain Ridge connected on all five penalty kicks after as thrilling a 0-0 draw as can possibly be played, and that was enough to leave the Wildcats disappointed again after losing the shootout 5-3.

"Dominate the game and you lose," Downs said. "There's nothing more to say than that."

Williamsport (11-5-2) outshot Mountain Ridge (14-2-1) 29-22, with each team putting 11 shots on goal and each keeper coming up with some amazing saves to keep the game scoreless.

The Miners had the first shot in the shootout, and Brandon Rogers, Justin Winebrenner, Zach Saylor, Brandon Cutter and Joao Toulson scored for Mountain Ridge.

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Daniel Doub, Cody Gardenhour and Chad Ridenour scored for Williamsport, but Bryan Whitmore -- the Wildcats' second shooter -- missed wide left.

"You leave it to a shootout, and that's what happens," Downs said.

Without the save of the game from keeper Alex Aleshire, the Wildcats would have lost in regulation.

In the 77th minute, Saylor sent an absolute laser of a shot from 40 yards toward the top right corner. It appeared destined to be a game-winner until Aleshire dove and stretched out his left arm and hand to its absolute limit to deflect the shot just over the crossbar.

"You get in a situation like that, and you have to pick (Aleshire) up," Downs said. "We've been playing like that defensively all year, and we didn't put one in the back of the net for him."

Miners keeper Connor Eberly made a few great saves of his own to match Aleshire.

In the 26th minute, Daniel Doub sent a free kick from 19 yards toward the top right corner and Eberly knocked it over the crossbar.

In the 35th minute, Winebrenner launched a 30-yard shot that Aleshire had to knock over the crossbar. Aleshire caught the ensuing corner kick on the fly -- one of several free kicks he went high to snatch in midair.

In the fourth minute of the first overtime, Williamsport's Jordan Payne tried to run onto a through ball, only to have Eberly get there a split-second before Payne could try for the game-winner.

The Wildcats came the closest to getting the elusive goal in the second minute of the second overtime. Doub's free kick from the right side just barely sailed over Whitmore's head, but Eberly -- who was preparing to try to save the header -- watched helplessly as the cross struck the far post and stayed out of the goal, eventually being cleared.

"We came out strong and had some really good chances in both halves," Downs said. "For some reason it didn't go our way, but they put it all out there."

In last year's 1A West final, Boonsboro defeated Williamsport 2-1 in a penalty shootout.

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