The season did not exactly end the way it was supposed to for the men's soccer team at Harford Community College, but its 1-0 loss to Anne Arundel CC in the regional quarterfinals at least left the team with a higher goal for next season.
The success the team (7-7-1) did enjoy was a far cry from last year's 4-9 record, and eons removed from the several seasons before that. The last time the school made the regionals was in 1987 when current coach Kevin Cromwell was a player and the team lost to Montgomery-Rockville, 1-0, in four overtimes.
This 18-man squad included three starters among the four second-year players, Sean Berry (C. Milton Wright), Chris Hoover (Joppatowne), Joel Iacovelli and Kevin Shols, and Cromwell was not sure what to expect before the season started.
"We knew we'd be stronger than last year, but this is such a difficult conference -- play is at such a high level -- that our record might not have reflected the improvement," Cromwell said.
But it did, with the first regular-season winning record in six years. Led by Berry and Shols, the team played solid defense in front of freshman goalkeeper Joe Reinhardt (C. Milton Wright).
The offense was led by freshman halfback Mike Dempsey (Calvert Hall) and freshman forwards Henry Rayner (Bel Air) and TTC Rob Greveris (C. Milton Wright). Dempsey was leading scorer with six goals and four assists.
Around the colleges
By holding William & Maryland scoreless to close out the regular season, junior Zach Thornton (John Carroll and Essex CC/Edgewood) set a single-season school record with 15 shutouts for 16-2-1 Loyola. He ranks first nationally with a goals-allowed average of 0.35.
* Loyola sophomore Suzie Delaney (John Carroll/Bel Air) saw action in 15 games, including one start, as the women's team (13-4-3) reached the championship game of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference before losing on penalty kicks, 2-0, after tying Fairfield, 0-0.
* Towson State senior goalkeeper Rich Pellegrini (John Carroll/Bel Air) has been named to the first-team All-Big South men's soccer team, giving him a four-year sweep of first-team all-conference honors.
Pellegrini was All-East Coast Conference as a freshman and sophomore, helping the Tigers to two conference championships.
It was a particularly noteworthy feat this year, for the Tigers had a weaker defense in front of him than in recent seasons. The team finished 4-4-1 in the Big South, 7-10-1 overall. In 77 career starts, he allowed 100 goals and had 19 shutouts, one shy of the school record. In his starts, the team was 42-29-5.
For the first time, the full boys and girls cross country teams have qualified for the state championships. Competing in the Class 1A East Regional at Kent County High School, the girls ran second to Joppatowne and the boys ran third to Joppatowne and Easton. The girls: 2. Erin Fitzgerald, 20 minutes, 6 seconds; 6. Nicia McAllister, 21.25; 10. Wendi Vlachos, 21:41; 14. Christy McKinnon, 22.11; 29. Jennifer Foss, 27:58. The boys: 7. Larry Belcher, 16.39; 10. Mike Knefel, 16:51; 11. David Grant, 16.52; 21. Ken Jones, 18.10; 22. Eric Agan, 18:35.
Havre de Grace
Jody Hochstein highlighted the Warriors' regional cross country efforts by finishing 33rd in 21:37 at Kent County High School, cutting six minutes off his previous best time for 3.1 miles. The team of 5. Alan Hitchins, 16.25; 13. Rodney Bolen, 17.01; 19. Dennis Bolen, 18.25; 31. Mike Hitchings, 20.07; and 33. Jody Hochstein 21.37 placed fourth overall.
The boys varsity soccer team (7-6) ended its season when it lost to Friends, 4-1, in the quarterfinal round of the Maryland Scholastic Association tournament.
In field hockey, the girls lost to Maryvale, 3-0, although sophomore goalkeeper Joy LaGreca had a strong effort with 12 saves.
Senior Bobby Simmons, who will defend his Class 1A state cross country championship on Saturday at Hereford High School, paced the Mariners to the regional title at Kent County High School. He ran 15.27, followed by 4. Keith Phillips, 15.59; 12. Jay Lawhorne, 16.53; 15. Ramy Wahba, 17.30; 18. Steve Morgan, 17.56. Anne Czisny (22:05) and Chris Torres (22:18) qualified as individuals.