Oakland Mills, the top-ranked team in The Washington Post's preseason soccer rankings, continued to rebound strongly from its upset loss to Bowie, beating 12th-ranked Kennedy, 3-0, yesterday on its home field as all-American Clint Peay scored two goals.
The Scorpions, now ranked No. 10, were coming off of a tough early season stretch in which they faced Loyola (Baltimore), Calvert Hall (Baltimore), Bowie and Bel Air in seven days. In the loss to Bowie, the Scorpions played for the first time without three senior starters who were suspended for the remainder of the season for drinking on school property.
But coming off six days' rest and adjusted to the suspension, the Scorpions were more than ready for Kennedy. Peay was in the forefront, scoring his fourth and fifth goals of the season.
"The suspension and the loss to Bowie made us realize that we'll have to work a little harder," said Peay. Since losing to Bowie, Oakland Mills has outscored its opposition, 8-0, in two victories.
The experienced Scorpions are a patient team, and with Peay, Malcolm Gillian (two assists) and LaPaca Trout, they have no shortage of speed. For those reasons, the Kennedy defense spent virtually the entire game fending off Oakland Mills rushes.
"I'm used to seeing Clint do things like this," said Oakland Mills Coach Don Shea. "He can dominate a game, but he's a different kind of player. He's very smooth and just goes about his business. I'm also fortunate that he's complimented very well by Gillian."
Oakland Mills outshot the Cavaliers, 11-4, including seven shots on goal in the decisive first half, when the Scorpions scored all of their goals.
A few minutes into the game, Peay received a pass from Gillian about 40 yards out, weaved his way through the Cavaliers' defense and sent a left-footed kick into the left corner from 18 yards for a 1-0 lead.
Later in the half, Gillian assisted on a goal by Pat Forsythe and Peay converted a direct kick from 25 yards.
Centennial 1, Whitman 0: When this year's schedules were released, the game between perennial Howard County power Centennial and defending state champion Whitman promised to be one of the highlights of the season.
But when the game at Centennial ended yesterday, there had been few fireworks, both teams turning in lackluster performances.
"We played well enough to win," said Centennial Coach Bill Stara. "It wasn't our best game by far. Neither team was very dangerous, but we were just a little more dangerous."
"We played rather blah," said Whitman Coach Sam DeBone. "It was a laid-back game by both teams."
Third-ranked Centennial (4-0) scored the only goal it would need as junior midfielder Tod Downen headed in sophomore midfielder Chris Arcella's corner kick at 13:37. It was the Eagles' first shot on goal. Both teams finished with just four shots.
With the lead, the Eagles began to fall back and were content to play out the game in a defensive posture, packing the backfield.
"You don't want to fall back, but when they start pushing everyone forward and outnumber you, you end up drifting back to protect yourself," said Stara.
No. 11 Whitman (2-1) maintained possession of the ball for much of the second period. But anytime the Vikings attempted to put together the semblance of an attack, they were just as apt to sabotage their efforts by missing a pass, shanking a kick or sending the ball out of bounds.
"There were lots of mistakes, lots of miscommunications," said DeBone, whose team is still trying to replace last year's senior star, Al Boggs. "I would have thought we would have played this game with a lot more intensity."
The Vikings' offense, led by junior striker Andrew Dilworth and senior striker Sergio Costa-Coute found itself constantly thwarted by Centennial's senior fullbacks -- Austin Groves, Stu Amateau and Teddy Oh.
"They're a really good defensive team," said Costa-Coute. "We moved the ball around the midfield, but they never let us threaten them deep."