Separate titles possible for girls 4A/3A soccer teams

November 01, 1992|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

For the first time in seven years, C. Milton Wright's girls soccer team will not advance to the regional playoffs.

A 1-0 loss Thursday night to Westminster eliminated the Mustangs (8-3-1) by the slimmest of margins. But that loss is only half the story.

Just as critical is the appearance of the Baltimore City schools in regional competition for the first time. City (9-1) grabbed the top-seeded spot in Class 4A-3A, Region I followed by three Baltimore County schools -- defending regional champ Dulaney (11-1), Perry Hall (9-2-1) and Kenwood (8-3-1). C. Milton Wright ended up fifth.

However, even though the addition of the city teams hurt the Mustangs this year, it may help them in the future.

Because the city teams swelled the Class 4A-3A girls soccer regions to as many as 12 teams, some state soccer officials say it's time to award two titles instead of one.

Vivienne Dailey, the chairman of the state girls soccer tournament committee, said her panel plans to propose the change this spring. The committee, which includes Mustangs coach Ken Dawson, favors awarding separate titles in Class 4A and Class 3A.

If the proposal is accepted by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, it could begin next fall. If so, the Mustangs no longer would have to compete against the Class 4A schools that have dominated the tournament.

"It's always been tough for us," said Dawson, "because over the years we've played Dulaney, Perry Hall, Old Mill, Severna Park, Broadneck. They're all 4A schools. We've only played one 3A school [in the regional playoffs] going back five years."

If classes 4A and 3A had been split since the MPSSAA first sanctioned an official state girls soccer championship in 1989, the Mustangs would have a couple of title plaques in their trophy case.

Right now, it may be tougher to get into the Class 4A-3A girls soccer playoffs than any other division of any other sport because of the size of the regions.

In most sports, regions average 10 teams. The largest region in Class 2A-1A girls soccer has eight teams, and the whole class has only 29 teams.

"It's not fair to the kids participating in this sport not to make region play when in other sports, the kids only need half as good a record to make it. Twelve is just too many teams in one region," said Dailey.

Dawson, however, said he had no complaints about the addition the city schools to Region I this fall. He said there was no other way to add the city schools to this year's tournament without a complete overhaul of the regions.

"We had to filter them into the existing regions and we did that geographically," said Dawson. "We didn't want to reorganize the regions, because we would just have to do it again next fall [for the MPSSAA's biennial reclassification]."

From the beginning of this season, the Mustangs, ranked No. 13 in The Sun's girls soccer poll, already were at a disadvantage against City, No. 4 Dulaney, No. 11 Perry Hall and Kenwood. The Mustangs couldn't rely on a good record to assure them of a playoff berth.

The four regional seeds are not determined by their records but by apoint system that awards eight points for a win over a Class 4A team, seven for a 3A team, six for a 2A team and 5 for a 1A team.

"With our playing a lot of 1A and 2A schools, it's just extremely difficult for us to slip in," said Dawson.

"Looking at our last six games, we were 4-2, but even though we were winning, we were losing points. Every time they were winning and we were winning, we were still losing one or two points."

The city school teams and the Baltimore County teams play league schedules of all Class 4A and/or Class 3A teams. In the Harford County league, the Mustangs play only two Class 3A teams, Bel Air and Aberdeen. All the rest are Class 2A or Class 1A.

That's why Kenwood, with an identical record to the Mustangs, finished ahead of C. Milton Wright in the regional standings.

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