Winfield's Noah Laliberty (20) and Hurricane's Evan Miles go up for a ball.
HURRICANE - Loran Meadows was hoping for another opportunity Tuesday night and, luckily for Hurricane, he was ready this time.The sophomore headed a bouncing ball through the penalty-box area into the net with less than six minutes to go to send the host Redskins past Winfield 1-0 in a battle of undefeated state-ranked squads. A crowd of about 150 attended the Class AAA intra-county rivalry that was physical from the start.The Redskins (6-0), who were No. 1 in this week's inaugural state coaches association rankings, had been on the Generals' doorstep all game but had nothing to show for it with time slipping away.Hurricane finally seized the momentum when senior Brazil exchange student Rodrigo Bevaqua sent a free kick bounding near the right goal post. After the ball took a big bounce, Meadows was there to put it away with the flick of his head with 5:56 left.
"Since I missed the early goal I thought it was my chance,'' said the 6-foot-3 Meadows. "I knew it was my time to score."I saw the goalie coming out and I had to hit it before he got the ball. Just any part of my body to get it in the goal. It feels great. A good win. Winfield definitely gave us a run.''No. 5 Winfield (5-1) didn't put together any scoring chances after Meadows' tally as the Redskins did a good job of keeping the ball away from the Generals, who only put three shots on goal."It could have went either way,'' said Hurricane coach Jim Dagostine. "That game was in the balance. I'll give my guys credit. They hung in there. It was just a matter of one of the teams finding a way to stick one in there. We were happy to get out of there with one.''
Hurricane junior keeper Brady Lawman made three saves while Winfield junior goalie Bryce Boggs turned in six stops. "We've got a good team,'' said Winfield coach Mike Foster. "We made one mistake. I'm proud of our guys. We worked hard. I think they did a great job. We had some good opportunities. It just didn't happen.''This was Winfield's first test since its season opener and Foster said he liked the way his team responded. Hurricane hasn't surrendered a goal all season, outscoring its opponents 28-0 in six games."They laid it out there and it didn't turn out in their favor, but I tell you what, I'm proud of them,'' said the Generals coach of his players. "Hurricane is just a good team. I've got a bunch of fine, hard-working young men. They play hard.'' The Redskins, who lost to eventual state champion George Washington in last year's state semifinals, are regrouping after adding five new starters, including three foreign-exchange students, to their starting mix. "Right now we need to quit worrying about [our] record and rankings,'' Dagostine said. "We just need to play and get better."Our guys have only been together since August. We're still trying to learn from each other. If we work hard in practice and we learn about each other, we're going to be better.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org