Upsets are the rule in field hockey


September 28, 1994|By BILL FREE

Wacky, weird, far out and shocking.

They all describe what has been happening the past 2 1/2 weeks in Carroll County field hockey.

Think about this.

A loaded Francis Scott Key team starts out 0-4, including two losses to a Fairfield (Pa.) High team the Eagles have handled in recent years.

Always-strong Westminster loses to Centennial for the first time in the five-year history of the series.

Then to top it all off, a supposedly weak South Carroll squad finds a way to beat powerful North Carroll, which was ranked No. 4 in the Baltimore metro area.

South Carroll took only two shots and North Carroll 19, but the Cavaliers won, 1-0.

Even longtime Carroll observers such as Westminster co-coach Sue Hooper are a bit taken aback by the string of upsets.

"This is a crazy sport," said Hooper. "But there are some reasons for what has been going on."

She believes the Key players could not handle all the glory that was heaped on them before they played a game.

"They're a talented team but maybe not as good as some people made them out to be," said Hooper.

About the Westminster setback to Centennial, Hooper felt the Owls simply had a bad day.

So what about the real stunner? How did South Carroll do it?

"That has always been a big rivalry where almost anything can happen," said Hooper. "North Carroll did everything but win."

Those words are no consolation to North Carroll coach Denean Koontz, who worried in the preseason about her team's inability to convert its scoring chances.

Koontz's worst fears were realized in that loss to South Carroll. It was

almost a replay of the final game of the season last year, when the Panthers dominated Liberty in the state Class 2A regional finals but lost on strokes after the game had ended in a scoreless tie after two 10-minute overtime periods.

That setback to Liberty cost North Carroll a berth in the state tournament and still seems to haunt the Panthers.

The early-season chaos in Carroll has resulted in Francis Scott Key's dropping completely out of the metro top 15, North Carroll's plummeting from fourth to No. 14, Westminster's fading a little to No. 10 from seventh, and South Carroll's vaulting to No. 13 from nowhere.

But Key (1-4) most likely will rally enough to make the Class 1A tournament and have an opportunity to defend its state championship.

North Carroll (2-1) has two very talented players, Jill Ballard and Amber Bosley, and if the Panthers ever start hitting just a few of their shots, they will be playing in the state 2A tournament.

Westminster (3-1) has bounced back from the loss to Centennial with convincing wins over Dulaney and South Carroll. Look for Westminster to make the 4A state tourney.

-! South Carroll (2-1) might not

qualify for the state 3A tournament, but the Cavaliers are always a strong threat to make the 3A regionals. They were 4-8 last season and would have gone to the regionals if Howard had not won two games in two days.

rTC Even Liberty (0-2) has enough talent to possibly wind up meeting North Carroll again in the 2A regional finals.

Westminster answers Ledda

Sure it was the Westminster Invitational with 19 other schools to muddle the picture with Liberty.

But Mike Recek and the Westminster boys cross country team let it be known last Wednesday they plan to be the best in Carroll County.

In the first meeting since the Lions' Joe Ledda predicted Liberty would end Westminster's 10-year reign as county champion, the Owls were superior to Liberty and Recek finished ahead of Ledda.

Westminster won the boys team title with 60 points, compared to Liberty's fifth-place finish at 156 points. Recek took second-place with a time of 16 minutes, 41 seconds, exactly a minute ahead of Ledda who was 12th (17:41).

Ledda's teammate, Justin Combs, was eighth at 17:34.

Recek and Westminster coach Jim Gilford played down the Liberty challenge, but Josh Heckathorn admitted the Owls were "pumped up" because of Ledda's remarks.

Heckathorn (18:11) finished 20th for Westminster.

He said, "Ledda saying those things about Liberty beating us in the county championships had us ready to run."

And what did Ledda have to say?

"I'm not upset about this," he said. "I could have run better, but I did OK. There were a lot of teams here today, and you can't compare this to the county championships."

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