With a 2-1, season-opening win over Havre de Grace Wednesday night, the Joppatowne Mariners avenged a 2-1 loss last year to the Warriors in the Class 1A regional finals.
"We set our season to come up here and win a game," said Joppatowne head coach Tom Dove. "The boys worked hard. . . . I've got a group of men who play well together. It was a close game, a really close game."
The Mariners' Andrew Swentzel Swentzel said a strong rivalry has developed between the two teams. "We were just coming back for payback," he said.
The winning goal came with 24:10 left in the game, asJoppatowne's Andy Kippenberger kicked a loose ball in front of the goal past keeper Brad Gladfelter.
"We got away from our short passing game," said Havre de Grace head coach Dale Knight, who was missingforward Sean Smith, red-carded against Glenelg on Monday and forced to sit out a game. The Warriors tied Glenelg, 0-0, in overtime.
"We didn't seem to control the ball, and they played their positions very well, and they crossed the ball well," he said.
In a physical and fast-paced first half, the teams battled to a standoff. Joppatownescored first, halfway through the half on a play set up by a Havre de Grace foul.
Swentzel crossed the ball from the left side, and Brett Gilbert one-timed it with his left foot. The shot whizzed by keeper Gladfelter into the right side of the goal.
Havre de Grace thenstepped up its game and began threatening with several shots on goal, but Mariner keeper Matt Rash scooped up the shots.
But with 6:18remaining in the half, Havre de Grace's Jim Ervine gained control ofthe ball on the right side and crossed it to the middle, where LorinNarvell got one by Rash to tie the game.
The Mariners outshot theWarriors, 13-12.
Warrior goalie Gladfelter had 11 saves, and Rashrecorded nine.
The Warriors moved up the defense and had chances to tie the game in the last few minutes, but the Warriors could not convert.
Swentzel said he hopes his team improves on last year's .500 record and said he was pleased with the team's effort Wednesday.
"Mostly we were in shape and nobody gave up, especially (midfielder) Tim Miller; he can outlast anybody out here."
Joppatowne was quicker to the ball, especially in the air, where the team's size advantage was noticeable. The Mariners have 11 seniors; the Warriors have six.
Mariner defenders Hugh Knapp, Tom King, Brandon Majerus, Miller and Mike Gohlinghorst worked hard to keep the Warriors front line of Narvell, Ryan Nolan, Ervine and J. W. Walker from scoring position.
Havre de Grace played a kick-and-run game, trying to run around the Mariners' experienced defense.
The Warriors defeated Rising Sun, 3-0, two weeks ago and appeared weary from the overtime tie two days before. Knight substituted freely. The Warriors defense was headed by Scott Hash, Joel Duchon, Sean McCone and Paul Oswald.