Liberty spent much of the second and third quarters turning last night's game with South Carroll into the type of run-and-gun affair the Cavaliers dislike. With the score tied heading into the final period, South Carroll coach Jeff Alisauckas wanted to see something different.
The visiting Cavaliers slowed the pace and did, indeed, make their coach happy in the fourth quarter, but they still needed help in the final minutes.
That's when Mike Ore assisted Andrew Bettis on the go-ahead goal with 4: 07 left. Ore added the insurance score 37 seconds later to give South Carroll an 11-9 victory over Liberty in the Class 3A-4A West region final.
This was South Carroll's first region title in this decade, and the Cavaliers advanced to the state semifinal tomorrow or Saturday at Catonsville Community College.
South Carroll (14-4) took charge in the final quarter. The Cavaliers held Liberty (10-6) to one goal in the final 12: 03 and outshot the Lions, 6-3, in that period. In addition, South Carroll was kept possession most of the final period, which slowed the Liberty attack.
"We wanted to keep possession of the ball in the fourth quarter," said Alisauckas.
That's just what his team did, enabling the Cavaliers to settle into their deliberate offense, something they're comfortable with, while the Lions like running.
"We wanted to slow it down," said Ore, who had one goal and two assists. "Once we slowed it down, we opened up a couple of shots."
Rob Onda (two goals) scored 54 seconds into the final quarter to give South Carroll a 9-8 lead, but Tim Chairs took a nice pass from Kevin Roy (three assists) to tie it again with 5: 46 remaining.
Ore and Bettis (two goals) then helped break the tie. Running down the right side, Ore zipped a perfect pass to Bettis in front, and his 10-yard shot beat Liberty goalie Brice Sauers (13 saves).
Moments later, Ore added to the lead by making a good move on a Liberty defender and putting a shot inside the near post from about five yards out.
South Carroll, which also got big games from Ryan Wynne (three goals) and Pat Wynne (two goals), held an early 2-0 lead, but Liberty stepped up the pace and scored nine goals in the middle two quarters. Mike Pearsall (three goals), Tom Freedman (two goals) and Pete Eppig (one goal, two assists) sparked the Lions' offense.
Liberty and county champion South Carroll split their two meetings this season, and this game was just as close. There were eight ties, from 2-2 through 9-9, and neither team led by more than two goals. But South Carroll was able to come up with a little more control at the end
"It's a matter of making plays," said Liberty coach Sal Picataggi. "They made one or two more than we did."
Loch Raven 14, Francis Scott Key 7: Tim Blakely scored five goals to power the host Raiders (8-5) past the Eagles (4-8) in their Class 1A-2A West regional semifinal. Loch Raven plays host to Towson at 4 p.m. today for the title.
Pub Date: 5/14/98