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Falcons prey on Wildcats

November 01, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Williamsport's Owen Marx, right, heads the ball over Poolesville's Michael Beliveau in the first half of Tuesday's match.
Joe Crocetta/Herald-Mail Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — The Williamsport boys soccer team may have been the No. 2 seed entering Tuesday night’s Maryland Class 2A West quarterfinal game against No. 7-seed Poolesville, but the Falcons were the ones who played like they deserved the second seed.

Poolesville dominated the vast majority of the first 65 minutes on the way to a 2-0 lead. And while the Wildcats made a furious final push to tie the score in the final 15 minutes, it wasn’t to be as Williamsport was eliminated with a 3-1 loss.

“We’re a young team. It’s that learning curve, but I think we’ll learn a lot from this,” said Wildcats coach Chris Downs, who sent out a starting lineup with just five seniors. “We know the level we need to get to, and we’ll work hard to get there.”

Brian Dillon, Brian Galfond and Brendan Carney scored second-half goals for Poolesville (8-6).

The Wildcats (10-4-2) played a mostly defensive style trying to limit the Falcons’ quality chances, but once they fell behind by two in the 63rd minute, it was full speed ahead — with goalkeeper Alex Aleshire changing jerseys and joining the attack.

“You have to be careful not to overcommit against them because they have speed, and we weren’t giving them many quality looks,” Downs said. “We just didn’t get the push upfield we needed.”

Poolesville outshot Williamsport 11-2 in the first half — Carney rang a shot off the left post from a sharp angle in the 12th minute, a shot Aleshire may have gotten his fingertips on — but the teams went into halftime scoreless. The Wildcats almost took a 1-0 lead after Owen Marx made a brilliant individual run through several defenders in the 36th minute, but his chip shot missed just right.

The Falcons kept coming early in the second half. Aleshire made a splendid save on Galfond’s curled shot from the left side that was curling toward the far right corner, punching it over the crossbar. But in the 50th minute, Dillon let a 30-yard shot fly and it caught Aleshire just enough out of the goal to sneak over his outstretched arms and just under the crossbar for the lead.

In the 63rd minute, Carney cranked a shot off the crossbar near the right post, and it caromed hard to the left, where it deflected off Galfond and into the empty left side of the goal for a 2-0 lead that looked like it would seal the match.

But four minutes later, Poolesville was called for a handball in the penalty box on Nicholas Myers’ corner kick. Cody Gardenhour powered the penalty kick high, and keeper Chris Comfort didn’t get enough of it to keep it out. Suddenly, the Wildcats had life down by just one.

“The last 20 minutes, we went down swinging,” Downs said. “If we get level, with Alex back in goal, it might have been a different story.”

In the 71st minute, Marx sent Gardenhour through a seam in Poolesville’s back line for a quality chance, but Gardenhour pulled his shot wide left. Then in the 76th minute, Aleshire got his head to Gardenhour’s long throw-in but could not control it and the shot sailed high.

Poolesville put the game away in the 78th minute when Carney cut a shot across his body while falling down, catching Corey Ellis going the wrong way as the ball rolled into the left side of the goal to ice the game.

“We had a pretty successful year this year,” said Downs, whose Wildcats finished second to North Hagerstown in the Washington County Tournament and second to Brunswick in the MVAL Antietam. “I think we got the most out of what we could.”

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