North boys, Boonsboro girls win county soccer titles

September 19, 2010|By DAN KAUFFMAN
  • North's Ryan Byard and Clear Spring's Devin Repp go up for a head ball as North's Niklas Grahn (2) watches in the first half Saturday night.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

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One great shot gave North Hagerstown's boys soccer team its second straight Washington County Public Schools Tournament championship Saturday night at Mike Callas Stadium.

Junior midfielder Niklas Grahn took a square pass from senior midfielder Dino Gilmanov in the seventh minute, lined up a left-footed shot from more than 30 yards and found the top left corner of the net to give the Hubs a 1-0 victory over Clear Spring.

"I got a great ball from Dino and had a lot of time," Grahn said. "We've been talking a lot in practice about shooting. I looked up, saw the goal and shot it."

"It was a great shot," North coach Glen Singer said. "He struck it well, put it on target ... and put it in a place the keeper couldn't get to it."


Grahn's goal gave the Hubs (4-1-1) their fifth county tournament title in their seventh trip to the final in the nine years it's been played.

In the nightcap, the Boonsboro girls ended North's six-year reign as county champion, defeating the Hubs 3-1 for the title.

"It's important to us," Singer said. "We take a lot of pride in it. ... It's always a goal for us to get in the final and walk away with that plaque."

Clear Spring (3-3) was playing in its first county final. The Blazers actually outshot the Hubs 10-6, but most were from distance, and Clear Spring failed to convert the few good chances it had.

"They outhustled us," Blazers coach Mark Myers said. "We outshot them, but they outplayed us. The first half was a totally different game than we played here before. They obviously came prepared to play and we didn't."

Clear Spring and North played to a scoreless draw in the first round of the tournament before the Hubs advanced to the semifinals by winning a penalty shootout, 4-3. The Blazers advanced to the semifinals on goal differential.

North had a chance to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute on a free kick from 25 yards, but senior Max Psillas put it just over the crossbar.

Clear Spring senior Mathew Blair had two chances on counterattacks. In the 25th minute he broke free on the left side but did not have a great shooting angle and his effort was stopped by Hubs senior keeper Caleb Mittel. In the 45th minute, Blair broke through the middle but shot wide right.

In the 59th minute, Blazers junior Ralph Weaver sailed a free kick from 24 yards over the crossbar. It was Clear Spring's last good chance.

"We had opportunities and didn't capitalize," Myers said. "Against a team like North, you have to capitalize."

"(Clear Spring) is playing good soccer, so I feel fortunate come away with a win today," Singer said."

Girls final

North Hagerstown's six-year reign as Washington County Public Schools Girls Soccer Tournament champions came to an end at the hands of Boonsboro late Saturday night.

Amber Smith, Morgan Thompson and Ashlyn Hawbaker each scored and the Warriors outplayed the Hubs in a 3-1 victory that gave North its first loss to a county opponent since 2005.

"It's a good win," Boonsboro coach Chris Lantz said in an understatement. "We talked about it all week, pressuring the ball, and they came out and played their best game of the season so far.

"There's always motivation when you play North, because they don't lose to county teams. They're so dominant, they always have great players cycling through. It's big to break the ice. It could be a real turning point for us."

Boonsboro (3-2) took the lead in the 33rd minute when Smith sent a 24-yard free kick high off Hubs keeper Rivka Herrera's raised hands and into the top of the goal.

The Warriors struck again in the first minute of the second half. Thompson intercepted a bad North pass in front of the Hubs' goal and buried a left-footed shot into the top of the net.

North cut the lead to 2-1 in the 51st minute on Kelsey Smith's specialty, a 27-yard free kick she ripped into the top right corner on a quick restart to give the Hubs life.

It lasted all of four minutes before Amber Smith sent a 29-yard free kick toward the goal and Hawbaker cut in front of Herrera to redirect the ball in the goal.

The game got intense in the final 20 minutes, with both teams playing physical. The Warriors drew two yellow cards, but the defense held fast to the final whistle.

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