Finally, Wilde Lake turns aside River Hill


Wilde Lake's three senior captains, Michael Dello-Russo, Ian Rodway and Dan Mongello, waited four years for yesterday.

None of them had ever beaten River Hill. Now they have.

The Wildecats thoroughly outplayed the three-time defending state champion Hawks, winning, 3-1, at Wilde Lake.

Rodway scored twice. Dello-Russo had a sensational left-footed assist capping a 70-yard dribbling run, and Dello-Russo and Mongello both dominated as center halfbacks.

It was the Wildecats' second victory ever over River Hill - the last in 1996, the year River Hill opened.

Wilde Lake jumped on top in the sixth minute when Rodway dribbled 30 yards with defenders closely running on each side of him. He finished at the 15-yard line by pushing the ball past a charging Hawks goalkeeper, Rizvon Gill.

"We have 11 seniors so we didn't want to sit back and wait," Wildecats coach Dave Nesbitt said.

The Wildecats continued to generate opportunities and shots, as Gill recorded eight first-half saves.

But No. 6 River Hill tied the score on a set play -- a 45-yard free kick by Jeff Marquart that went through Wilde Lake goalkeeper Cameron Diggs' hands in the 14th minute.

Rodway scored again in the 32nd minute on a 6-yard kick off Dello-Russo's cross in front of the goal and led 2-1.

The Wildecats then stunned River Hill with a game-clinching third goal in the 33rd minute from Julius Fon, who faked a right-footed shot and switched to his left foot from 15 yards out. All of the goals were scored from Wilde Lake's right side.

Wilde Lake's defense, a question mark before the season began, looked solid with Chad McCarthy at sweeper and Justin Thomas at stopper.

River Hill (1-2-1) graduated every starter from last year's team and has struggled.

"This was the most embarrassing game I've ever coached," Hawks coach Bill Stara said. ". We let Dello-Russo run 70 yards and we get tired after 50 yards. That shows a lack of heart. I didn't have an impact player out there today. Players will not listen. They will not follow directions."

Nesbitt tried to downplay the importance of the victory for his team, which may face the Hawks again during the regional Class 3A playoffs.

"It's still early in the season," he said with a smile."

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