The Hammond-Centennial boys soccer season opener Friday featured an unusual number of cards.
Hammond coach Trevin London, Hammond player Allan Perraud and Centennial player Amad Hady were ejected with red cards and cannot participate in the next game.
Centennial coach Jim Zehe, one of his players and three Hammond players all received yellow cards in the 2-1 overtime game won by Centennial.
Perraud and Hady were ejected after they became entangled and then got into a shoving match.
"The ref warned me to control my bench and fans, who were angry that we weren't getting the calls we should have, and that one of the refs coaches several of the players on the Centennial team," London said.
"I told my players to cut it out, and they did. Then we got a positive call and my players jeered, and the ref called time and said he'd had enough from me and gave me the red card. I've never been thrown out of a game before. That's not my style. I never said a word to him. It was a complete surprise to me. I tried my best to calm them down."
Hammond's Steve Basso had scored in the eighth minute by chesting in a pass from stopper Justin Griffith.
Centennial tied it in the 38th minute on a goal by Randy Collins off a free kick by Greg Long.
And the Eagles won it in the 10-minute overtime period when Collins settled a pass at the 18-yard line and kicked it off Griffith into the goal.
Centennial double-marked Kwaku Boateng, who scored 29 goals last season, and sent a third player to support whenever Boateng got the ball.
The Eagles were without returning starters Will Pippen (concussion) and J.R. Test (disciplinary reasons).
Hawks face soccer test
Second-ranked River Hill opens its boys soccer season Tuesday with a challenging game against Liberty, which has played the Hawks close two straight seasons.
Under coach Ed Devincent, Liberty has won at least 10 games for the past six seasons.
Hawks avenge football loss
Last season, River Hill lost to Hammond, 51-24, but the Hawks made things right on Friday by trouncing the Golden Bears, 43-14.
Chris Martin, who moved from receiver to quarterback this season, rushed for 90 yards and three touchdowns, passed for 56 yards and one touchdown and returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown.
Long Reach coach Pete Hughes thinks that River Hill is a sleeper with the potential to win the county championship.
"Their JV team went undefeated last season and didn't just win games; they killed everyone," Hughes said.
Vikings start in style
As the JV coach of the Mount Hebron volleyball team last season, Michael Moynihan had a firsthand look at what exactly went wrong with the Vikings' varsity last year.
He saw a young team with a lot of talent that lacked the ability to close out its matches. On its way to a disappointing 3-12 season (3-10 county), Mount Hebron lost five matches in the fifth set.
That's why when he took over the varsity team, Moynihan made his first order of business to repair his team's psyche.
"It's real hard to come back after a tough year like that," said Moynihan, whose team is led by junior Stacey Carroll and sophomore middle hitter Connie Pikounis. "My realistic goal is to rebuild the program at Mount Hebron."
He is off to a good start. In their first game, the 10th-ranked Vikings upset No. 3 Broadneck, 11-15, 15-8, 15-3, 15-11. The Bruins are the defending Class 4A state champions.
With the graduation of Co-Players of the Year Melissa Workman (Hammond) and Julie Napolitano (Mount Hebron), and Centennial's Sam Test and Julie Richter, Howard County girls soccer lost four of its top five goal scorers.
Needless to say, finding a consistent finisher was the chief concern of several teams, including county favorites No. 2 River Hill and No. 4 Centennial.
While the Hawks' offense has looked just fine, racking up nine goals (five of which senior midfielder Megan Buescher set up with her trademark long throw-ins) in two wins in the Pioneer Shootout this past week, Eagles coach Mike Senisi had his fears revisited in Centennial's 2-2 tie with the Institute of Notre Dame on Friday.
"We had about two breakaways, and four or five chances when we were one-on-one with the goalie," Senisi said. "It's early on, but it is a concern. We just need girls to step up and take it upon themselves to put the ball away."
Glenelg coach Mike Williams, whose 15th-ranked Gladiators beat South Carroll, 3-0, on Wednesday, and Wilde Lake first-year varsity coach Robin Grey are not fretting. Glenelg returned four of its top five scorers, and in scrimmages and the opener, seven different Gladiators have scored.
Meanwhile, Wilde Lake returns one of the county's most dynamic scorers in senior Lynlea Cronin.
"I tend to think that balanced scoring in big games and in state playoff runs is more important than one person who has a lot of goals," Williams said.
Said Grey: "We lost a lot, but we have players to fill their shoes. ... The girls have turned it on, especially Lynlea with her overall speed and skill."