Playing title games, regionals back-to-back is a bit draining

Sidelines

November 05, 1995|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Getting up for a county championship game and the playoffs in back-to-back situations can be difficult, even for the best of teams.

County championship games are a great idea, but after what happened to the Anne Arundel boys and girls soccer champions recently, one has to ask, how do teams maintain the intensity with the pressure of winning so close?

No. 2 Chesapeake (13-1) won the county boys title, 3-2, over No. 12 Severna Park (10-4) in double overtime, but three days later found itself in a 1-1 dogfight with North County (6-6-2) under adverse weather conditions leading to a postponement.

Upon resumption on Monday, the Cougars were upset, 6-3, in the first round of the 4A East regional.

The same plight struck the No. 10 Old Mill girls (11-3-1) who won the county title over No. 3 Severna Park by 1-0 in double overtime only to lose to the Falcons (13-1-1) four days later by 1-0 in the first round of the 3A-4A East region playoffs. That playoff game was stopped because of lightning and resumed on Saturday.

"I'm not saying the county championship game is not a good idea, but the two teams that won county championships both lost in the first round of the playoffs, and we might have left our best game on the field against Severna Park," said Chesapeake boys coach Earl Eckhardt.

"It was tough coming right back so soon in the playoffs."

It's got to be tough on the athletes, but what is the answer? Schedule the county championships a full week before the playoffs?

Staying up emotionally is not a given. The Chesapeake boys and Old Mill girls may or may not have suffered letdowns after winning county championships, but the proximity of the pressure proved to be too much.

One team that survived the back-to-back big games not to mention the pressure of a 52-game winning streak was the No. 1 Severna Park field hockey team. The Falcons (16-0) were sky high for their first county championship, dominating (10-5) Chesapeake, 4-1.

The same intensity was not there a couple days later in the first round of the 4A South region playoffs, but the Falcons managed to slip by (6-3-2) Arundel, 1-0, in sudden-victory overtime.

Veteran Severna Park coach Lil Shelton, who has won eight state titles and nearly 300 games in 21 years, admitted her team was a little flat after the county championship triumph.

"It wasn't easy playing two big games in a couple days and no, we didn't play nearly as well," said Shelton.

The Falcons have refocused, winning the South regional by 4-2 over Calvert to advance to Wednesday's state semifinals at Goucher College.

Quick pops

Former Point Pleasant resident Lisa Christopulos was a member of the 18-and-under Junior Olympic girls soccer team that finished second to Belgium. Christopulos currently lives in Inglewood, Fla.

* Glen Burnie's veteran head baseball coach Bruce Sider has gone from associate scout to a paid part-time scout with the Kansas City Royals under Bob Carter of Chambersburg, Pa.

* Arundel's Chavonne Hammond, the Baltimore Sun's Anne Arundel County Girls Basketball Player of the Year, will make it official Tuesday by signing her letter of intent for a full basketball scholarship to Vanderbilt.

* Kristen Nicolini, the former Annapolis standout runner now a freshman at nationally eighth-ranked Auburn, has been named All Southeast Conference in cross country.

* Meghan Hill, a St. Mary's grad who is a sophomore defender at the College of Notre Dame (12-7), has been named to the Atlantic Women's Colleges All-Conference field hockey team.

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