Big second half lifts Centennial to title


Centennial, tied at halftime, spent the intermission building a steamroller.

The Eagles totally dominated West Chester-East at both ends of the field in the second half, scoring eight successive goals for an 11-3 victory in the championship game of the seventh annual John Carroll Invitational tournament in Bel Air yesterday.

North Harford won the consolation game, beating John Carroll, 10-8.

Centennial (9-1), which had lost this title to West Chester-East (9-2) in overtime a year ago, wasn't about to give the Pennsylvania school a chance to hang around and make it interesting. Senior Tony Harding scored four of his six goals in the third quarter, and the defense for the metro area's seventh-ranked team showed up to thwart the Vikings.

It was 9-3 at the quarter, and when Centennial goalkeeper Brian Carr came out late in the game, the defense in front of him had restricted East to three second-half shots, all of which went wide. Coming in, East had won eight straight before losing to Ridley last week.

"When this group puts its minds together, it can play outstanding lacrosse," Centennial coach Mike Siegert said. "It's all attitude and intensity, and we did a great job on rides and clears in the second half.

"I think they intimidated us some in the first half, and it looked like it would be a knock-down game. Then we were pretty impressive in the second half."

Centennial boasts a nearly all-senior lineup, and many of the players not only have played their high school lacrosse together, but came up through the recreation program as well.

Twins Tony and Brian Harding certainly are used to each other, and while Tony was getting his career-high six goals, Brian was contributing two assists. Jason Newman and Robbie Hauff added two goals each. Defensively, Matt Rainwater and Chris Cochran were outstanding.

"We were flat in the first game and it carried over to the first half of the championship game," Brian Harding said. "Brian Carr saved us with his goaltending [eight saves] in the first half, though, or we could have been down instead of tied.

When the offense scores, it pumps up the defense, and the other way around, too, so when our defense got tough, it made the offense play better."

In the consolation game, Keith Smith's goal off a feed from Mike Murray enabled North Harford (6-3) to break a tie at 8 with 4:19 left, and Eric Barger got his fourth goal to conclude the scoring in the victory over John Carroll (4-4).

In the first round, Centennial built a 5-2 first-half lead on North Harford, and went on to a 7-4 decision. Hauff and Jeff Iannarino had two goals apiece for the winners. John Carroll jumped ahead East, 3-1 in the second quarter, then did not score again, as the Vikings got two third-period goals for a 4-3 victory.

Sean McDonough scored five goals and Clay Ulman four in John Carroll's two games.


* Edgewood 19, Laurel 4: Robby Mister hit a three-run home run to lead Edgewood (7-4) over Laurel (2-7) in the consolation game of the Hammond Bear Invitational. Scott Taylor added a two-run shot and Bobby Myers (1-0) struck out nine to get the decision.

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