Torrential rain and wind gusts of up to 40 mph. at South Hagerstown High School brought a second-half halt to last night's Class 2A state semifinal between Wilde Lake (7-5-3) and Parkside (7-8) of Wicomico County. Parkside coach Andy Hall, who has coached the Rams the past 21 years to a 185-83-4 record, had never seen anything to compare to last night's weather.
Mother Nature severely tested both teams' sense of humor, which appeared to survive the deplorable conditions, as the two teams sprinted for shelter in jubilation when the contest was officially suspended midway through the second half.
The suspension of play occurred at the 23:13 mark with Wilde Lake holding a 1-0 lead.
MPSSAA state soccer tournament officials suspended the game when the driving wind became accompanied by a strong downpour that left South Hagerstown's field resembling a pond reflecting the stadium lights.
"We wanted to do everything we could to accommodate both teams, especially since they traveled so far," MPSSAA soccer tournament official Bob Sheffler said.
"However, the conditions simply became unplayable and it happened quite quickly in the second half. Had it continued as it was in the first half, we could've got the game in."
The game will pick up from the 23:13 point with Wilde Lake leading 1-0, thanks to a first-half goal by the Wildecats leading scorer sophomore David Briefel (10 goals). It will be begin at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Lansdowne High School.
"I told my players we had to be more composed in the second half as to how we set up our defense and not give up a stupid goal," said Wilde Lake coach Dave Nesbitt, as the Wildecats moved closer to reaching the state final for an eighth time with six state crowns already achieved.
"But it's real hard to kick a ball on a muddy field," added Nesbitt, who guided the Wildecats to their last state title in 1991.
Wilde Lake dominated the first half with the strong wind gusts at its back.
Bad weather also forced the postponement of yesterday's Class 1A-2A semifinal between North Harford and Oakland Mills. It will be played tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Lansdowne High School.