Kenwood coach Gary Schneehagen thought his team wasn't getting the respect it deserved when the playoffs began. The Bluebirds are getting it now that they've earned their first trip to a state final.
Goalie Alex Hancock made 11 saves and Kenwood got goals from Mark Wood, Tim Dudeck and Steve Dobbs last night as the Bluebirds stunned Montgomery County's Walter Johnson, 3-0, in a Class 4A state semifinal at Thomas Johnson High in Frederick.
Kenwood (9-6-1), which rebounded from a seven-game (0-6-1) winless streak at season's end and had never won a playoff game before this season, will meet Old Mill for the state championship next Thursday, Friday or Saturday at UMBC.
No. 12 Old Mill scored a 2-1 victory over High Point in last night's other semifinal.
Schneehagen played up the "no respect" theme throughout the playoffs. He even ran back to the bench after the game ended and screamed, "How 'bout those Blue Jays" - a little shot at the public address announcer, who mangled Kenwood's nickname before the game.
Walter Johnson (13-5) had an 11-5 advantage in shots on goal and found numerous scoring chances, but Hancock robbed the Wildcats on several occasions.
"On each [save], you have to do the fundamentals," Hancock said. "I guess I'm pretty good at that [and] we're a really good team."
Wood got the first goal with 16:59 left in the first half, on a 15-yard shot from the middle. Dudeck headed in a rebound with just under 31 minutes left in the game and Dobbs scored from 10 yards after a botched clear.
Kenwood's defense, led by Joey Bressi, Matt Jones, Chris Rackcliffe and Clay Setser, repeatedly shut down the Wildcats.
No. 12 Old Mill 2, High Point 1: Matt Rozanski scored two second-half goals as Old Mill (15-3-2) rallied to win at Thomas Johnson High. The victory put the Patriots in their first state championship game.
Rozanski helped the Patriots rebound from a shaky first-half in which High Point (15-2-1) controlled play and held a 1-0 lead at the break.
Old Mill coach Jeff Martin called it his team's "worst 40 minutes of the season."
But the Patriots responded after Martin challenged his team for a better second half. Rozanski made the game's key play by scoring on a 10-yard shot after a rebound in front just 3:16 into the second half, and that seemed to turn the momentum Old Mill's way.
Rozanski then scored the game-winning goal with 21:37 left. Justin McDowell, who assisted on the first goal, sent a perfect through ball toward Rozanski, who beat charging High Point goalie Jeremy Easter to it and poked a shot into the empty net.
No. 3 River Hill 6, Westlake 0: Going for its fifth state title in eight seasons, the Hawks (15-1) scored five second-half goals in the semifinal to beat Charles County's Westlake (14-3-1) at Arundel.
Jeremy Smith and Brian Chun each had two goals and Theo Byrd added one for the Hawks, who shut down Westlake's Ryan Russell (30 goals, 15 assists).
No. 5 Towson 8, Bethesda-Chevy Chase 2: The Generals (14-1-1) scored two quick goals in the second half for a 4-1 lead and coasted over the Montgomery County team (10-6) at Arundel.
Senior Jeff Routh had two of his three goals in the second half and junior Mike Novotny also scored two second-half goals.
Towson held a 2-1 lead at the break, but dominated the second half with its speed and quickness up front.
"We have a very talented offense and defense and once we get rolling, we're pretty tough to stop," said Routh.