Ocean City Stops Middle Twp., 4-1, In Group 3 Semis

Posted: November 09, 2000

OCEAN CITY — Aaron Bogushefsky's main responsibility is defense, but the Ocean City senior can also give the offense a spark, especially with a shot that is harder than the ground on many area fields.

Bogushefsky scored his team's first goal and spearheaded a strong defensive effort from his stopper position as Ocean City defeated Middle Township, 4-1, in yesterday's South Jersey Group 3 boys' soccer semifinals.

Second-seeded Ocean City (19-3) will visit top-seeded Cumberland for tomorrow's South Jersey Group 3 championship game, tentatively scheduled at 1 p.m.

Third-seeded Middle Township, which split two regular season games with Ocean City, finished its season 18-4-1.

Ocean City dominated play in the first half but had nothing to show for it until Bogushefsky let loose a bouncing shot from 35 yards out that landed in the lower-right-hand corner of the net with 13 minutes, 7 seconds left in the first half.

"Aaron has a cannon of a shot," Ocean City coach Mike Pellegrino said. "Nobody usually marks the stopper and he took advantage of things."

Middle Township goalie T.J. Moore never moved after Bogushefsky released the shot.

"He was screened," Bogushefsky said. "When I saw the ball come to me, I just tried to hit it as hard as I could."

Led by Bogushefsky, the defense was so strong in the first half that the Panthers never got a shot on goal and rarely crossed midfield.

Less than three minutes into the second half, Ocean City doubled the lead when Chad Severs sent a cross from the left side to unmarked Adam Sternberger, who headed it in.

It was the first of two assists for Severs, South Jersey's all-time leading goal scorer with 153. Severs' passing is often underrated, but the assist broke the school's single-season assist mark of 22, set by Chip Mower in 1989.

Opponents feel that if they stop Severs, they can beat the Red Raiders, but yesterday he played more on the outside, taking defenders with him and opening up things in the middle.

"We have other guys who can step up and score, and they showed it today," Severs said.

After that goal, Middle Township came to life. With 35:39 left in the game, Ocean City goalie Ryan Carr made a nice save on Bob Belciano's 8-yard blast from the right angle to the short side.

The Panthers cut the margin to 2-1 when John Rennie sent Anthony Hagan in on goal with a half-volley pass. Hagan walked in and scored with 22:39 left.

Less than three minutes later, however, Severs beat a defender and sent another cross that was converted by Jordan Melchionni to increase the lead to 3-1.

Adam Williamson scored the final goal with 12:07 left, and the defending South Jersey champions were headed to the title game once again.

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