In a reversal of styles, No. 2-ranked Oakland Mills boys soccer team played what soccer purists would call "pretty soccer" yesterday in its showdown with No. 4 Mount Hebron.
The Scorpions ditched their normal kick-and-run in favor of a short passing game.
The result? A 2-0 victory over the Vikings -- the first time Mount Hebron, which averages almost four goals a game, has been shut out, and the first time it's lost in league.
Oakland Mills (9-1, 4-1 league) scored the winning goal in its normal fashion -- a header by Jeremy Catlin in the 64th minute after a long Brian Grund throw-in. The ball glanced off goalkeeper Greg Peters' hands before Catlin headed it.
Scorpions coach Don Shea was pleased with his team's ability to possess the ball and create with a slow build-up.
"He [Shea] told us to knock it around today, and after a while we got the confidence we needed to do it," said Grund, who also headed a potential Vikings goal off the line and created Oakland Mills' second scoring chance by drawing a pushing penalty in the box in the 74th minute. Steve Blakely converted the penalty kick.
Grund, the outside right halfback, normally is expected to send the ball back after he receives it wide. But in the second half he was told to go to the goal.
"Once I started making runs, my defender couldn't stay with me," Grund said.
Mount Hebron (8-2, 4-1) wasted a three-shot flurry just before halftime. Oakland Mills headed one shot off the line, kicked one shot off the line, and Mount Hebron missed a wide open shot far right.
In the second half, White's diving header off David Lechtrecker's pass was saved by Chris Ebeling, who also saved a hard boot by Lechtrecker off a corner kick.
It was the first game all season that Lechtrecker (13 goals, six assists) didn't score a goal or get an assist, and it was Ebeling's fifth shutout.
"We controlled the tempo and didn't get rattled," Shea said. "This was the most composed we've played."
Said Mount Hebron coach Jeff Doolan: "We played lots of good soccer and when I look back I don't see how we lost. We had more dangerous scoring opportunities but didn't finish."