Carroll County teams at a glance BOYS LACROSSE PREVIEW

March 20, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham

Francis Scott Key Eagles

1996 record: 6-2 (club team)

Coaches: John Baugher and Carroll Seiler

Top players: Danny Edwards, Jr., A; Scott Straehle, Sr., A; Josh Casserly, Jr., A; Ryan Day, Sr., D; David Swain, Sr., MF; Mark Plank, Sr., G.

Outlook: With an 11-game schedule in the Western lMaryland Lacrosse Conference, the Eagles are looking to build on a successful 6-2 inaugural season at the club level a year ago, with hope of gaining varsity status next spring. After having 30 players last year, 47 came out this spring to help form a secondd "JV" team. Baugher and Seiler couldn't have asked for much more in the Eagles first season. With a number of players unfamiliar with the sport, the Eagles improved in every game. They opened the season with a one-goal loss to Smithsburg but avenged it later in the season with a five-goal win. "The kids just constantly got better as the season went on last year. That's what we hope to do again this year," said Baugher. With a valuable year's worth of experience, the Eagles hope to challenge for the conference title -- won by Linganore last year -- this spring. The starting defense from last year returns led by Day in the crease and Plank in goal. The Eagles will go with three midfield lines with Swain and Foglesand the anchors. On attack, Edwards, Straehle and Casserly all have experience playing together and Baughers said the three complement each other well. Look for the Eagles to do a lot of experimenting with more depth this season. "The competition is definitely tough, which is good. You can expect things to change from week to week," Baugher said.

Liberty Lions

1996 record: 8-6

Coach: Troy Barnes

Top players: Ryan Pagels, Sr., D; Zach Dietrich, Sr., A; Nick Waldner, Sr., A; Klayton Carroll, Sr. D; Tim Chairs, Jr., MF; Tom Freedman, Jr., MF; Keith Sullivan, Sr., MF.

Outlook: There are good starting points with Pagels, a four-year varsity standout, anchoring the defense and Dietrich, the Lions leading goal scorer the past two seasons, established on attack. With 12 players lost to graduation -- half of last year's team -- Barnes is looking for some young players to pick up the slack. He's liked what he's seen. "There [are] some questions going into the season, but I like the chemistry I've seen and the guys are working hard," Barnes said. "There's a lot of balance -- any one of six or seven guys can score -- and guys have stepped up." The roster is filled with good all-around athletes, particularly at midfield. Chairs, Sullivan and senior Jamison Combs were all standout soccer players in the fall and senior Jeff Wharton was a starter on the Lions basketball team. Pagels is the county's best returning defender, and he'll get help from Carroll, along with senior newcomer Luke Vriezen. Senior Rob Lee and junior Brice Sauers are vying for the goalie spot. Waldner, a reserve last season, has emerged as a team leader. He'll work up front with Dietrich and junior Pete Eppig, a transfer from Calvert Hall. A lot of talent is up from last year's JV and will see some action. The Lions will continue their chase of South Carroll, which has won the last 10 county championships. Last season, the Cavaliers handed Liberty three of it six losses -- two by one goal, including a 7-6 decision in the region playoffs.

North Carroll Panthers

1996 record: 0-11

Coach: John Piper

Top players: Shane Lettau, Sr., MF; Vince Hackler, Sr., D; Tim Hackler, Sr., A; John Dwyer, Sr., A; John Dubicki, Sr., A; Tim Shestag, Sr., MF: Billy Aberts, Sr., G; Jeff Painter, Jr., D.

Outlook: A senior-oriented team has come to practice with a fresh new outlook in hopes of getting the struggling program headed in the right direction. Piper said last year's near miss against Atholton in the playoffs -- the Panthers had a lead midway through the fourth quarter -- was a turning point. Also, the majority of the players on the roster are coming off a successful 6-4 football season in the fall. Piper, in his second season, is looking for things to carry over. "The whole attitude has changed. Last year, they went into the season expecting to lose," Piper said. "This year, they've set some goals, are working hard and expect to win some games." The starting point is Lettau, a first-team All-County midfielder with sound stickwork and speed. Last season, he finished with 10 goals and 11 assists to lead the Panthers. This year, Piper expects him to get a lot more help with an improving attack. "John Dwyer and John Dubicki are chomping at the bit to score goals, and Tim Hackler is like the quarterback out there," Piper said. "We've got threats, and that's what's nice. When Shane gets double-teamed, there will be guys he can dump it off to." The defense also looks solid with the nucleus back. Vince Hackler, a solid one-on-one defender, is on one side with Donahue on the other and Painter big and strong in the crease. Piper said a couple of early wins will be vital.

South Carroll Cavaliers

1996 record: 12-2

Coach: Jeff Alisauckas

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