With his team having lost to Patterson by nine goals in the regular season, Southern's first-year coach, Paul Llufrio, was determined to show that his Bulldogs were worthy of the rematch in yesterday's city championship game.
Southern, the winner of Division II, lost again, 4-0, but not before its stubborn defense earned the respect of Derek Maki and his Division I-champion Clippers (10-3).
The Bulldogs (8-2) "bottled up the midfield with about five bodies," said Patterson assistant Rick Ardinger. They also went with a five-man back wall, including 195-pound Kenny Zellers, John Murphy and Kenneth Fink.
Llufrio's strategy also called for isolating striker Nick Fowler, who has 11 goals and seven assists, against Patterson's defense.
Coupled with the play of Bulldogs keeper John Rasunski (19 saves), the combination worked despite the absence of premier sweeper Baba-Jidi Sodipo -- Southern's only senior -- who left 10 minutes into the game with an ankle injury.
"Llufrio's a good coach, and he adjusted nicely since the last game," said Maki, whose Clippers had a 26-6 shots-on-goal advantage. "We had all the pressure on us, and they had nothing to lose. They came out here, they were physical, and they played the kind of game that can frustrate you."
Patterson's Damian Krzezminski finally broke through with 18 minutes left in the first half. The freshman, standing in a cluster of players vying for a corner kick from Danny Melgarejo, smacked a low ball to the left of Rasunski.
"My players never got frustrated and showed character in the second half," said Maki, whose Clippers play Mervo in the 4A state playoffs on Nov. 3. "This was our fourth straight shutout and our seventh overall. And it's the kind of game you need before the state playoffs."
The Bulldogs surged in the second half behind midfielders Dave Dixon (nine goals, eight assists) and Chuck Allen (nine, four), as Llufrio pushed for the tying goal.
But the effort spread Southern's defense, and the Clippers countered successfully.
As Rasunski emerged to meet a few onrushing players, Clippers scoring leader Charles Bates (14, 13) rose above a crowd to head the ball toward the near post. A sliding Melgarejo was there to score his ninth goal of the year with 27 minutes left.
Later, a fast-breaking Guillermo Pineda, one-on-one with the keeper, scored his 19th goal of the year to Rasunki's left. Midfielder John Hollen (11, five) later dribbled around three defenders before beating Rasunski to the right.
"If we had Sodipo, this might have been a much better-played ballgame," said Llufrio, whose Bulldogs play the winner between Dulaney and Perry Hall in next week's 4A playoffs.
"We improved a lot and I'm proud of this team, no matter what happens from here."
* McDonogh 2, Gilman 1: The No. 3 Eagles found themselves with an early 1-0 deficit, but responded with two second-half goals as they downed the visiting No. 13 Greyhounds.