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Leopards get split decision in openers

May 14, 2010|By TIM KOELBLE

SMITHSBURG -- If the Smithsburg boys can bottle up what they did in the second half of Thursday's Maryland 2A/1A West region lacrosse playoff game against Long Reach, the Leopards could be a pain.

The Leopards dominated the final 24 minutes and extended a 5-4 halftime lead to post a 15-6 victory over Long Reach to move into the quarterfinals on Saturday at Brunswick.

In the opener of the doubleheader at Coach Carroll Reid Field, the Smithsburg girls' season came to an end in a 7-6 loss to Catoctin.

Whatever the Leopards (7-7) did after intermission, they'll gladly take it with them to Brunswick, especially after suffering two losses to the Railroaders during the regular season.

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"We simply made too many unforced errors in the first half," said Smithsburg coach Joe Dietrich. "The defense played well in the first half but we just kept mishandling the ball."

The Leopards never trailed but Long Reach (2-13) closed to within one goal at the half.

Bobby Gery scored in the first minute of the third quarter off a deflection in front of the goal to get past Long Reach keeper Justin Brown and set the wheels in motion.

Alex Sweeney had a pair of goals, Cullen Ganley followed one of his own and Gery scored again to make it 10-4 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

"We just attacked more and the defense kept playing solid," said Ganley, who led with five goals and four assists.

Ganley scored twice and assisted on a goal by Kevin Grimm in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Leopards a 13-4 lead.

"(Long Reach) was overplaying me and I got more movement in the offense," said Ganley.

Sweeney and A.J. Minnich each tallied three goals and Mark Chirdon also scored one goal.

The Leopards' defense made Long Reach work for the 14 of its shots as Smithsburg goalie Nick Dilandro collected five saves. The offense peppered the Lightning goal with 34 shots.

"This region is the toughest in 2A/1A," said Dietrich, not allowing his team to take Long Reach lightly despite its record.

n Smithsburg girls had a 13-12 victory over Catoctin on May 4, but the formula for victory didn't carry over on Thursday.

The Leopards tried to dig out of a deep hole, gallantly challenging the Cougars until the very end in an effort to knot the score.

Alexa Plumley, Sabrina Madsen and Monica Hovermale had shots turned away in the final 35 seconds after the Leopards (8-4) scored three straight goals to erase a 7-3 Catoctin lead.

Hovermale scored three times in the first half to offset a goal by Catoctin's Erin Phelan, which gave the Cougars a 4-3 lead at the half.

"All season we've started slow and tonight it carried into the early part of the second half," said co-coach Patrick Ford.

Catoctin (8-5) put the clamps on Taylor Cline, who had scored six goals in the earlier matchup, holding the sophomore scoreless.

"That happens. Taylor just had an off night," said Ford. "The girls gave a 100-percent effort. The seniors gave all they had. Catoctin played a great zone defense."

Hovermale ended with four goals and Danielle Harbaugh did a creditable job in goal, stopping 18 of Catoctin's 28 shots.

Erin Phelan led Catoctin with a team-leading four goals.

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