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Meade makes early goal stand, beats Annapolis, 1-0 Mustangs go into region final vs. Severna Park


It took just 47 seconds last night for Meade to take the lead in its Class 4A East regional semifinal against Annapolis.

The Mustangs then needed 79:13 of hard-nosed defense to preserve it.

Nick Smith picked off an attempted clear in front of the Annapolis goal and scored in the first minute, and Meade then survived a multitude of good scoring opportunities -- including 15 shots in the second half -- en route to a 1-0 win over the Panthers at Chesapeake High School.

"I didn't think one goal would hold up," said Meade coach Mike Dey, who attributed the low score to slick field conditions.

Although the Panthers held a 25-17 edge in shots, the majority came either from long range or poor angles.

Said Dey: "Both of us have some kids who can score goals. [Annapolis] had a lot of shots, but we were not unhappy with the kinds of shots they were getting."

The Mustangs (8-7) advance to Tuesday's regional championship game against Severna Park at Chesapeake. It will mark their first bid for a regional title since 1991 when they defeated Severna Park in a shootout.

To get there this time, however, they first had to survive a strong effort from the Panthers (7-6-1).

The Mustangs dominated the early moments of the game -- firing the first four shots and taking advantage of a good break to score in the first minute.

After Meade's throw-in deep in the offensive end, a defender tried to clear the ball but instead hit it right to Smith in the middle of the box. Smith then scored easily into a wide-open net.

"It came to me and I just tried to power it in," said Smith, who has five goals and 13 assists. "We came in to this game knowing we could beat them. Nobody was touching us -- that's how we felt."

Moments later, however, the Annapolis offense began to spring to life.

Midway through the half, Chris Holt's shot was met with a chest save by Mustangs goalie Matt Nein.

Then, with 6:30 to play before halftime, Holt's header after a corner kick was stopped by a leaping save.

Nein, a junior, had a day to remember in goal, saving 17 shots, including several from point-blank range.

"We had a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn't put anything in," said Annapolis coach David Gehrdes. "We made a mistake early on that throw in, and that's life."

Said Dey: "To their credit they were really aggressive as they were all year long."

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