A scoreless tie left Oakland Mills boys soccer coach Don Shea and Centennial coach Bill Stara pleased yesterday.
A tie was nearly as beneficial as a win for each team's playoff plans.
Teams are awarded eight points for a win over a 4A school, seven over a 3A school, six over a 2A school and five over a 1A school. Ties earn two fewer points than wins.
So the tie against Class 3A Centennial earned 10th-ranked Oakland Mills (6-2-2, 2-1-2) five points toward regionals. And those five points virtually clinched a playoff spot for the Scorpions, who need only a victory over Mount Hebron Tuesday to make it official. Mount Hebron is winless in the league.
And Centennial's tie against Class 2A Oakland Mills earned the top-ranked Eagles (8-0-2, 4-0-1) four points. Those points kept Centennial on track for one of the top two seeds in its region and the home-field advantage that comes with that seeding.
Centennial goalkeeper Dan Christine prevented Oakland Mills from winning. He made two especially difficult second-half saves and one in the first half.
One tough save came in the 67th minute. Oakland Mills' Alex Amponsah slipped through a crowd in the middle of the field at the 15-yard line and kicked a hard shot. Christine dove and batted the ball above the bar.
"That was the toughest stop I made," said Christine, a junior who has started every game after replacing injured Brock Yetso, a first-team All-County selection last season. "This was the most people I've ever played in front of, and the most competitive game I've played in, but it was also the most comfortable I've ever felt in goal."
Christine made another diving save on a hard shot by Teddy Lawler in the 65th minute.
"This is a great rivalry between these two teams, and we came out strong. But they elected to kick over our midfield, which is our strength," Christine said.
It became a game of long throw-ins and corner kicks. In regulation time, each team had 10 dangerous throw-ins and three corner kicks.
fTC During the 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime, however, Oakland Mills had seven dangerous throw-ins to one for Centennial.
Oakland Mills nearly scored four minutes into overtime on an unsettled situation in front of the net. The ball was loose and Christine was on the ground, but Oakland Mills failed to put it away.
Centennial's Doug Ulman had the best shot in overtime, one from 20 yards out in the 96th minute that Scorpions goalkeeper Jason Kranefeld saved.
"Dan [Christine] came up big for us, and I thought Kranefeld did a nice job for them," Stara said. "He [Kranefeld] came out and caught balls cleanly."
For Centennial, this was the first in a series of three tough games that includes seventh-ranked Atholton Tuesday and third-ranked Glenelg Friday.
"We're through the first one with no injuries, so I'm not disappointed at all," Stara said.
The Atholton game is the one that means the most to Stara, because the Raiders are in Centennial's region.