High School Boys Soccer:
By Scot Williams
The Cherry Hill West Lions continued their tournament shutout streak and defeated No. 2 ranked Cherry Hill East Cougars 2-0 to capture the 1997 Coaches Tournament Championship. This was the third time in the tournament's history that Cherry Hill West has won the title. The previous two titles were in 1976 and 1986.
The Lions' road to the finals included strong defensive wins over Moorestown (2-0), Shawnee (1-0) and West Deptford (1-0). Saturday night's final match was no different.
The Lions defense shut down the powerful Cougars offense, limiting the Cougars to 9 shots on goal. Strong midfield play by the Lions' Rich Burmeff prevented the Cougars offense from getting started. Burmeff's aggressive effort resulted in the Lions winning the majority of loose balls and generated numerous scoring opportunities for Cherry Hill West.
Jeremy Messler scored the first goal of the game at 17:43 to give the Lions a 1-0 lead. After the initial shot from inside the 18 yard line was stopped by Cherry Hill East's goalie, Messler knocked in the rebound from inside the 6 yard line.
The Cougars' Pat McCall played a very strong first half. McCall's strong ball control and precision passing resulted in two fast breaks, but the shots went wide. He almost connected on a beautiful bicycle kick at the top the 18 yard line towards the end of the first half.
The Lions came out strong in the second half. Tom Mulloweny slipped through the Cougars' defense and received a sweet pass from Kevin Welding to scored on a breakaway at 4:16 giving the lions a 2-0 lead.
Despite the deficit, the Cougars continued to challenge the Lions' defense. However, the Cougars were rarely able to penetrate the Lions' 18 yard line. Numerous attempts were cleared from harms way by the Lions' midfielders and fullbacks.
The Cherry Hill West Lions played aggressive soccer for the entire game. They demonstrated that hard work and effort has its rewards. They woke up the next day knowing they had earned the right to be the 1997 Coaches Soccer Tournament Champions.
Player Of The Game - Rich Burmeff
Cherry Hill West's midfielder Rich Burmeff was all over the field for an entire 80 minutes. He was continually breaking up plays and not allowing the Cougars offense to get started. His hustle and determination resulted in the Lions winning the majority of loose balls in midfield.
©1998 South Jersey Sports Online